We had the good fortune of connecting with Taryn “TJ” Carmona and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Taryn “TJ”, is your business focused on helping the community? If so, how?
I believe that my company, 360 Arts BLVD, helps my creative community by reframing the conversations surrounding arts and business. We hope to empower creatives with the tools and the knowledge they need to succeed without feeling as if they have to rely soley on “handouts”, while also being very vocal about the need for including an artist’s perspective into traditionally “non-creative” business sectors. We want every sector to have a creative on their team, as we know that our ability to think outside of the confines of our situations allows us to be a valuable voice on any project that needs forward thinking individuals.
Alright, so for those in our community who might not be familiar with your business, can you tell us more?
My company, 360 Arts BLVD, was born out of my work as a performer and arts educator. After twenty years of performing, teaching, and creating, I began to understand the challenges facing artists who want to turn their passion into their paycheck, as well as the challenges facing their advocates; their friends, educators, and family members who want to support them. It took a few years, but eventually I discovered that my niche – and my passion- is the intersection of arts and business. I have spent many years mentoring and helping creatives shine a light onto their unique path to success. Now, as Founder and Chief Creative at 360 Arts BLVD, I provide guidance, resources, funding and mentorship through our online platform, TheBLVD. The pandemic really underscored the need for a business like mine, and I’ve worked very hard to keep us moving forward amidst the challenges I’m also facing. I know that TheBLVD can bring a spot of light in a dark time, and I am more motivated then ever to push us to the next level. In January, we’ll be starting up with paid membership for the first time. For only $15/month members are granted access to a wealth of exclusive member events and development opportunities; in fact, on December 28th we’ll be hosting our Bi-annual Block Party, featuring performances by members from around the nation, during which we’ll be awarding our first grants: $1000 to an organizational member and $500 to an individual member (application closes December 23rd) Also in January, we are proud to launch our BOOST program with our first two award recipients, Sterling McClary and Morgan Parks, helping to bring their original projects to the stage with hands-on mentorship and a $500 mini grant. We have committed 60% of membership dues back to the community through our various programs. As membership grows, the more opportunities we can offer through larger grants, higher profile speakers and mentors, and larger venues in which to present our members’ work. We also have a Black Arts Matter project in the works, including a showcase of Black Visual Artists coming next year. Starting in 2021, all finalists for development and funding opportunities will have been chosen by the community. We are very excited to see what we will be able to do next! I’ve learned a lot in my three years since starting my company, mainly about the best way to communicate my product to my base. I’ve made several really excellent connections and nailed down exactly how I can best serve my community. We’ve had our setbacks, but we are now confidently ready to invite the creative world into our online home. TheBLVD.online
Any places to eat or things to do that you can share with our readers? If they have a friend visiting town, what are some spots they could take them to?
I absolutely love my Decatur neighborhood and its surrounding areas. I’d take them to Downtown Decatur to enjoy some of my favorite food spots: Noodle, Taqueria Del Sol, Butter and Cream, Lenox Cupcakes, and hot drinks at Dancing Goats. My Parent’s Basement is an excellent place to chill and try a new cider, made even more spectacular by the fact that my family of 6- three children and our dog, Oreo – are all welcome. Cosmic Bowling rounds out Decatur nicely, then it’s off to ATL. Once we hit the city, we’ll take in a show at Synchronicity, my theatrical home, before heading to Top Golf to get a few games in. Delia’s Chicken Sausage, Gu’s Dumplings, and King of Pops for dessert will make for excellent meals. Finally, there is no way a visit could end without a trip to Six Flags! My family goes once a month on average, with our memberships.
The Shoutout series is all about recognizing that our success and where we are in life is at least somewhat thanks to the efforts, support, mentorship, love and encouragement of others. So is there someone that you want to dedicate your shoutout to?
I would like to dedicate my shoutout to Rachel May, Artistic Director Synchronicity Theatre. Over the past decade, Rachel has helped me grow as an artist, administrator, educator, entrepreneur and parent. She has been an advocate of mine for many years and has given me many, if not most, of the “game-changing” opportunities I have had since moving to Atlanta, on stage, at the production table, and as the founder of my own organization. As a businesswoman, I am constantly in awe at her ability to make sound -while sometimes risky- decisions, a trait that has made it possible for me to take risks in my own life as well, knowing that I had someone I could be counted on not to judge my abilities and promise by my failures. I’ve asked her advice on everything under the sun, and I am always happy to hear her perspective-even if I don’t always agree. The few times we have found ourselves in conflict I have come out with an overall deepened my respect for her and my theatrical home. She is the definition of Gutsy. Smart, and Bold, and she has formed an organization that embodies everything those words mean. I am proud to call her a colleague, a mentor, and a friend.