What is INKAA's mission or purpose?

The mission is to provide equitable access to the arts and art opportunities to established, independent, emerging, and aspiring artists and artisans from the Greater Cincinnati and Northern Kentucky areas. INKAA exist to help empower creatives and views them as entrepreneurs. We specifically work with independent artists, artisans and small creative businesses from all walks of life and in different stages of their artistry. This means that we serve to help creatives achieve their goals as individuals. 

What is INKAA primary focus?

INKAA Education Program focuses on:

  • Job creation and economic opportunities for artists and artisans including assistance with small business and legal matters (filing taxes, applying for grants, seeking gallery representation et cetera);
  • offering regular art business education  programs for the general public, emerging artists, and students in art related fields;
  • expanding the public's interest and support of the arts, local artists and artisans, small businesses, entrepreneurship, and local economies; developing networking opportunities and mentoring relationships for emerging artists and artisans;
  • offering inclusive art education programs and outreach for underserved populations and communities;
  • offering art education programs for  early childhood development, special needs populations, and the regions elderly population;
  • creating individualized service plans, strategies, and development plans, programs, and initiatives that support emerging  artists, the creative process, and the development of new ideas and new work. ​    

What is the distinction between INKAA's use of the words "artists" and "artisans"?

What is an artisan? This unnecessarily sensitive question is equivalent to the issue of what constitutes art and what is designated as craft. In both cases, the former word essentially refers to the making of tangible or intangible products as an expression of creativity and imagination for purely aesthetic reasons. An artisan, meanwhile, though spurred by the same impulses, produces crafts, which, though they may be acquired only for decoration, are designed to be practical. Therefore, though some tension between artist and artisan — between producers of art and designers of crafts — may exist because of a perceived differential in their relative cultural status, the technical definitions are just that: precise distinctions not in quality or artistic achievement but in function” (Mark Nichol  Artist vs Artisan http://www.dailywritingtips.com/artist-vs-artisan/)
An Artist is someone who creates objects which exist purely to excite our imaginations, our sense of beauty, our souls. These objects can be useful or useless; they can be audio, visual, tactile, or appealing to the other senses. The key is that the object is a work of art whose primary reason for existence is to be a sort of non-sentence, non-verbal communication of an idea, or evocation of a state of being. An Artisan is someone who creates utilitarian objects, but applies artistic touches to them to elevate them into the realm of beauty. He or she usually does this by working on the original materials with their own hands, or with very simple tools and techniques. The whole essence of artisanal work is that it has a hand-crafted feel to it. When I think of an Artist, I think of someone making a painting. When I think of an Artisan, I think of someone carving a beautiful chair. These are both oversimplifications. But they give you a hint of the basic difference. Another great answer can be retrieved from  author Mark Nichol  “Artist vs Artisan”  http://www.dailywritingtips.com/artist-vs-artisan/ Mark Nichol,  “Artist vs Artisan” retrieved on May 2, 2015 from http://www.dailywritingtips.com/artist-vs-artisan/

What is an “independent artist”?

The term “independent artist” is typically associated with the music industry however in any creative arts genre an independent artist is typically an unsigned artist, not represented by an agent or agency within a specific region.  Typically independent artists are ‘working artists’ that take a primary role in representing themselves to the public, release their own work, sell their own work, or have work present in a gallery, boutique, or shop on consignment or for a small percentage of the sales.

What is meant by “a working artists”?

A working artist is a professional artist whose regular efforts and activities include trying to get their work seen and sold. Working artist are typically characterized as people who depend upon the income derived from the sales of their work or services.
What is the meaning of the INKAA's motto, shield and branding?
“Working today for a better tomorrow”©
“P-art Business Incubator, P-art Gallery, P-art Gift Shop, P-art education, ALL cooperative”™ 

Both of these tag lines (mottos) are reflective of what INKAA and its collaborative partners are and stand for. INKAA is not just one thing; it is evolving into an innovative organization that provides REAL life support, empowerment and advocacy activities to local artists and artisans in different stages of their artistry. This includes established, emerging, and aspiring artists, artisans and small creative businesses. What they all have in common is that they are considered to be "independent working artists". 

Do you have well known artists involved with INKAA and at its gallery?

This question is complex but easily answered this way, "Yes, we have well known artists in our gallery as well as art that is considered to be investment art". But then answer is not really a good one nor does it fully illustrate the bigger picture. What is unique about the INKAA culture is that you have famous, established, or internationally recognized artists and artisans right next to new and emerging artists and artisans.  Who we have at in our gallery is less important than what we are doing. The cool part is that many of our established artists serve as mentors to our emerging and aspiring artists. However, many of our established artists, especially those that have been doing this for a while, often find themselves in need of help to adjust to the changing art world (e.g., needing a website, or help with social media et cetera). This is where the cooperative model and networking works best. We each help each other out and the power of networking ensures that individual needs can be met from within the INKAA family. The family (our collaborative network) includes other galleries, boutiques, arts organization, community organizations, entrepreneurs, and small business owners.    

Why is there such a diversity of artists and artisans?

INKAA prides itself on having created a unique inclusive art community that embraces diverse artists, artisans, and creative styles. What makes us innovative is that you will see well-known established artists in the same space as emerging artists and artisans. We even include student work in each of our shows. We find that viewers and visitors rarely ask for an artists or artisan’s pedigree, years of experience, or the schools that they have attended or the degrees that they have acquired or the accolades that they have received. These things are however important to a small group of people. What we have found is that working independent artists and artisans often face some of the same challenges when trying to achieve their own prescribed level of success. Consequently, this is what many of our artists and artisans have in common. Our gallery is therefore not for everyone; it is however, for people interested in embracing the idea that working together is better than going it alone and that each person has something of value to offer another person. The artists and artisans here do not look at each other as competitors but instead see each other as fellow creatives trying to successfully navigate through the world of art.

Why should I support the INKAA?

Take a moment and do some research and you will see that nationally speaking there are very few other arts organizations or businesses that do what INKAA is doing on behalf of independent emerging and aspiring local artists and artisans. We endeavor to educate, engage, and empower individuals in all stages of their creativity because we believe that human beings are essentially and naturally creative and therefore need an environment that nurtures their creativity. Our logo…the “No Starving Artist” logo, speaks volumes about our mission and our efforts to help ensure that talented artists and artisans have an opportunity to achieve success while using their creativity. INKAA nurtures creativity.
Creativity is a way of living life that embraces originality and makes unique connections between seemingly disparate ideas and concepts. Creativity is about living life as a journey into seeing and communicating the extra-ordinariness of the simplest, most every day acts. Some creative people need help and support in navigating through the professional world of art; we are that needed system of support for independent artists and artisans. This is why we exist... 

Does INKAA have outreach programs?

Yes, Community outreach is a core part of INKAA's mission. All of the outreach programs are under its KY-mmunity Outreach Program. This program has included bringing the arts and art activities to underserved populations; children and adults with special needs; and individuals, like the elderly or critically ill children, who are bound to a fixed location for whatever reasons. 

Embedded in our mission statement is the goal to help provide “…equitable access to the arts and art opportunities…”

Call Parrish Monk, the executive director at (859) 866-2390 for more details or if you have a great idea and want to partner with INKAA.

We frequently donate and support good causes and other charitable organizations whenever and however we can.  

Are the artists and artisans all local?

100% of our artists and artisans are from the Greater Cincinnati area. 

How many artists and artisans are there ?

That's a tricky question. Through regular art shows and events as well as art business classes and forums we serve and engage over 120 creative each year. Our monthly gallery shows at the Madison Gallery can have between 5 to 15 artists at one time. We host shows 10 months out of the year. We have approximately 24 creatives that have banned together to create a functional art cooperative; the same group that created the Lux Art Gallery and Gift Shop pop-up shops in November 2016 and November 2017.  At the Madison Gallery INKAA also houses between 5 to 11 small creative businesses like: Atlas Oils, ManHandled Jewelry, What2Ulike Pet Store, Accidental Art et cetera. 

Why should I support and patronize the INKAA’s mission to empower independent artists and artisans?

Independent artists and artisans often face genuine obstacles when seeking support, resources, opportunities, and the funding necessary to continue their work, achieve success, and realize their dreams. A lot of artists and artisans struggle with the "business side" of the art world. Most artists and artisans just want to create and not be distracted by other concerns such as building websites, social media, marketing et cetera. Coupled with the human element (e.g. attitudes and perceptions concerning defining art, art quality, aesthetics, emotional impact of art, utilitarian purposes of art, purchasing unnecessary art et cetera) becoming a successful artist or artisan can be challenging even when a measure of individual success has no monetary value attached to it. However, art is all around us all the time on the walls of our personal spaces or even present in the packaging and design of consumer products that we use on a daily basis. Yet, we continue to live in a society that perpetuates myths and misconceptions about art as a profession and artists as professionals. In essence, arts based industries are flourishing and growing and the days of success in the art world coming after one dies or has spent decades in the art world are gone. Creatives can now work towards achieving success without having to hold back or repress their creativity. Like many human endeavors however, the realities of the 'business side' of the art marketplace often places undue strain and barriers that sometimes get in the way of artists and artisans achieving their dreams and successes. The difference between a successful artist and the proverbial 'starving artist' is often a combination of factors with access to market opportunities and increased exposure being primary obstacles for many artists. Consider any creative work or person considered to be an artist-whether they are a musician, dancer, clothing designer, architect, culinary artists, athlete or writer, there are always very talented people that never get the chance to realize their dreams or achieve success. Fortunately, the Independent Northern Kentucky Artists and Artisans Business Incubator is seeking to be one conduit to help bridge that gap of success for independent Northern Kentucky artists and

Now, back to the question: Why should I support INKAA?  You should support the INKAA because it directly supports individuals from your community; local economies; small locally owned businesses; and small business owners as creative entrepreneurs.

Every one of us knows a talented creative that could use or could have used some support and help. Many of us believe that we know a starving artist or two.

We are not contributing to curing an epidemic or disease, nor are we solving world hunger on a national or international scale; however, we are helping to create economic opportunities; empower individuals and families; and address the economic and educational disparities that exist involving local artists, artisans and small creative businesses in the region. Beyond ethnicity, gender, or a specific location, we are working diligently to better our communities one creative at a time.  

Why is INKAA Education Program unique?

INKAA works diligently to fight against the myth of the proverbial “starving artist”. INKAA is unique because it serves as a dedicated business partner for independent artists and artisans in hopes that our combined and collaborative efforts help to empower artists and artisans as entrepreneurs or as successful creatives using their talents and their gifts to achieve success. INKAA is developing specific programs and initiatives to help artists and artisans succeed with our efforts focused on job creation, economic empowerment, and accessing business opportunities.

We are known as a key bridge builder and community arts-based force for the Northern Kentucky/Greater Cincinnati area while being headquarter in Covington Kentucky with our partners at Inspirado @the Madison Gallery.

What does INKAA stand for?
Independent Northern Kentucky Artists and Artisan Education Program, Inc..

What is INKAA?

INKAA is in essence a not-for-profit social enterprise, art business incubator, and art education program that is also diverse art cooperative with its members ranging from internationally recognized and established artists to emerging artists.  We like to say "INKAA is in part a business incubator, an art education program, an art gallery, an artisan gift shop, that is cooperatively run by local creatives".  

What is the management and leadership structure of INKAA?

The existing management structure will evolve into a leaderless (not directionless or rudderless) organization managed by its members and governed by a Board of Directors. Until then, Parrish Monk is the Executive Director and works closely with dependable volunteer staff and a small group of trusted advisors. 

Who is Parrish Monk?Tell me about the Founding Director.
You can find out more about Parrish Monk by visiting his website at www.parrishmonk.com or by calling him at (859) 866-2390 or  by emailing him at INKAAorganization@hotmail.com. Parrish is open, honest, and friendly. Here is an excerpt from his bio found on his website:

"Parrish Monk is a nationally known, African American visual artist who lives and works in the Cincinnati/Northern Kentucky area. A recent transplant from Tampa Florida, Parrish is a military brat with no definitive place to call his hometown. Although his work appears in several galleries across the nation Parrish considers himself as an independent working artists who recently (as of January 1, 2014) became a full-time artists first launching Parrish Monk Arts and creating his own line of jewelry called ManHandled Jewelry™.  Often called a “Renaissance man”, Parrish is a self-taught and versatile artist and artisan who when asked, describes himself as “a work in progress.”  

Parrish works in a diverse variety of mediums but is best known for his creation of a unique style he calls “AbFigMinimalism”, a combination of complex abstract art with minimalist figurative drawings.  With over 511 sales of original art work across the globe Parrish considers himself to be a working artist but is still a part-time adult educator teaching business and general education courses at various colleges.

Professor Monk is an expert adult educator who teaches developmental math, finite math, statistics and business management courses to adult learners at Indiana Tech University. Yet, as an adult educator and a recent doctoral degree recipient in Educational Leadership from NKU and a self-proclaimed life-long learner, Dr. Parrish Monk  still feels like he has a lot to learn about himself, art, and life.  While Parrish does not have a long pedigree of art degrees, art schools that he attended, or art masters that he has studied with, Parrish can boast about a very short, yet successful career as an artist which began in November 2011.  With pieces sold to HBO (for the show Enlightened), Eye Productions (for the show Hawaii Five 0), PB&J Productions, Southern Girls, Inc. and over 400 private collectors and art enthusiasts across the globe. Parrish does not make or sell any prints or copies of his work. Parrish continues to show his art work in local galleries across the nation and has won several awards for his artwork; an honor that he does not take lightly since he is a self-taught artist. 

In addition to owning Parrish Monk Arts and ManHandled Jewelry, Dr. Parrish Monk is  the founder  of the INKAA Education Program. With a lot of irons in the fire, Parrish’s stated priority is devoting time to his family and more specifically to his wife (who recently won her long fight with cancer) and his youngest son who is on the Autism spectrum. His wife loves that fact that he is passionate about so much yet devotes his time to his family and serving others in the community as an adult educator. As a father of three boys (ages 25, 24, and 12 years old), Parrish enjoys spending his rare free time at home being creative with his youngest son at his side. 

 In Parrish's words:

 "It took me almost 40 years of wandering through the wilderness until I emerged out of the darkness and became a full-time artist. I love proclaiming that I am a self-taught artists with no particular style, medium, or master. My work encompasses fine art to folk art to American arts and craft to functional art. I love the processes involved with being a self-taught artist and artisan…the learning process; the discovery process; learning from your mistakes; making happy accidents; moments of revelation that I actually learned something new; zoning out and realizing that hours have passed by unnoticed; the mindlessness and relaxing moments. I love not having other people’s voices in my head telling me right from wrong or how to hold my tools properly. I love the freedom that I feel from being finally free of those paralyzing and crippling fears that many artists experience when considering others (critics, the public, other artist) in their creativity and creative processes. I create for myself and myself alone first and then it sells or becomes part of someone else’s life and a whole other set of positive experiences and feeling emerge thus reminding me why I had finally submitted and embraced this life and path that chose me after decades of hiding and repressing my creativity. I love being an artist with the knowledge and foresight to know that I am still learning, still growing, and responsible for creating my own door".  

What have been some of INKAA's biggest challenges to date?
Finances are always a challenge. INKAA started off lean and debt free however there is always a need for more capital to cover overhead. However, a related challenge has been marketing and successful grant writing. 
The most common barriers and  incorrect assumptions about INKAA are:
1.     We are just an art gallery and all we do is sell art;
2.     The art that we sell is only for rich people;
3.     We only have art classes for young children;
4.     Our artist should not be seen as entrepreneurs;
5.     We are a for-profit art business with a single owner or beneficiary;
6.     That we are a financially well-endowed organization.

We are working diligently on dispelling these myths and helping people to understand what and who we are.

How do I make a tax-deductible donation to  INKAA?

While we love and need donations we would prefer that you receive something or some type incentive in exchange for your donation. 30% of all your purchases (art, gifts, classes, or participation in special events) goes back to the INKAA. You can make tax deductible donations to the INKAA in several different ways.  You can donate directly through the donation button on our website or by clicking here: DONATE.  This will take you to a secure online site managed by PayPal.  You do not need to have a PayPal account.
You can come to the INKAA Education Program and donate by check or cash in person or by adding extra to your purchases
You can mail a check made out to "INKAA Education Program"  

to: Inspirado @the Madison Gallery 

C/O Christopher Green or Parrish Monk

INKAA Education Program  

715 Madison Avenue

Covington Kentucky 41011 

BUT WAIT… if you donate to us please do not make it an anonymous donation. We want to acknowledge your donation, send you a donation receipt and/or at the minimum thank you publicly on our website. We have some great incentives and reward for donors as well. 

I want to donate to the INKAA as a business. Is that possible and what can we get in return?

Corporate sponsors, businesses, organi
zations, or foundations that donate will receive special incentives and perks including placement on our website, on our wall plaques for donors, and advertisement on brochure during our regular events. Also, there are opportunities for tax deductible donations.

When I buy something from the INKAA where does my hard earned money go?

INKAA only carries original art, limited prints of photography from local photographers, and one-of-a-kind artisan created items. 70% of all sales of items from our gallery goes back to the artist or artisan whereas the remaining 30% goes back to INKAA and the Madison Gallery.

At the Lux Art Gallery and Gift Shop 90% of all sales of items from goes back to the artist or artisan whereas the remaining 10% goes back to the INKAA.


Below Are Responses to Frequently Asked Questions About INKAA Education Program

The Independent Northern Kentucky Artists and Artisans Education Program



P-art business incubator, P-art gallery, P-art gift shop, P-art education...ALL COOPERATIVE!