Steal this business idea

Anyone who comes up with ideas for businesses has more than one they can use. So if you want to start a business and you don’t have an idea, just steal one. Here’s an idea I’m not doing anything with.

I am ending that sentence with a preposition. I think following the preposition rule makes people sound like a tool.

Using tool as an insult started in 2009. We know this because Urban Dictionary tracks the evolution of language. But who tracks the evolution of grammar? There should be a site that allows people to vote on grammar rules that are outdated.

You could earn money the same way Urban Dictionary does. Someone must be making money there because the site has a legal disclaimer. That’s something only rich people have. I don’t have one on my site because there is no money to sue me for. I mean, sue me forthwith. Or whatever.

But don’t think about this idea, because it’s not the business idea I was planning on telling you about.

OK. So here comes my official business idea of this post. The AP Art History test requires kids to memorize a list of 250 pieces of art and know why each piece matters. Khan Academy has info on these 250 pieces of art. But sometimes the info is boring and sometimes it’s almost non-existent. That’s right. There are things kids need to know for AP Art History that have not been covered online.

Every kid taking the test googles every piece of art all year long. And they forward good stuff to their friends. For example, the picture up top is from a contest to recreate famous paintings. And that suitcase is… can you guess?…

Mondrian. There are a million meme-worthy images for The Last Supper. And for every famous painting, there’s a cat painting. But what about Lipstick (Ascending) on Caterpillar Tracks? I find no fun links for that one.

It would be so easy to rank high for AP Art History Lipstick. You could source lipstick that looks like the lipstick color Claes Oldenburg created and name the color after the artist.

You could sell it to vulnerable AP Art History students who tell themselves no online shopping until they finish studying but now shopping IS studying. You can put the lipstick in a fun box and sell it for $30 so moms can get their kids AP Art History gifts for birthdays.

The sculpture is at Yale. So sell a gold-plated version of the lipstick in the school store, and price it for a 150% profit, because among Yale students the median family income is $192,000.

Sell cookies with references to the pieces of art. Of course, people memorize better if there’s sugar involved. AP Art History Cookies: Prehistory to Contemporary! Mix and match! Buy two eras and get the third free!

Magic! You have a product.

You don’t really have to make the product in order to advertise it. Sell it at a high enough price that you can pay someone to figure out how to make cookies that look like Spiral Jetty if you get an order. Send a postcard advertising your service to the top 300 high schools in the US.

Magic! You have a targeted sales plan.

Address the postcard to “AP Art History Teacher.” Tell the teacher you can offer a discount to the parents in her classroom. The teacher will send your advertisement to parents.

Magic! You have a marketing team.

Now you wait for an order. And this is about as close as you’ll get to starting a business for passive income.  Just make sure the price is really high, because I made AP Art cupcakes and it took me a long time to think of each idea, and order edible AP accouterments online, and I’d need a lot of practice rounds to make the cupcakes look professional.

What about the pieces of art in the list of 250 that are barely even mentioned online? Camelid sacrum in the shape of a canine comes to mind. I don’t even know what a camelid is, but Khan Academy recommends that AP students find out by reading this 50-page unpublished dissertation on Mesoamerica.

Maybe you should make a landing page for the camelid thing, and then collect email addresses and sell them to an SAT tutor. Or you could have your kid use the landing page to crowdsource complaints about how stupid it is that the College Board puts art on the test that no one knows anything about.

Then your kid could write on their college application how they helped their peers to mobilize to improve the way students learn about art. Leadership! Community service! Passion!

Magic! Your kid conquers college admissions without having to be a slave to the racket that is AP testing.

19 replies
  1. ro lane
    ro lane says:

    sentences ending in prepositions are now accepted. Your use of with was fine. People who verbalize don’t know where they’re at. They also don’t know Paul Klee from Paul Revere. But I like your business plan even though the average Norman Rockwell will not understand what you a proposing. Cadbury Biscuits are by far the best cookie in the world and hard to find.

  2. Maria Miccoli
    Maria Miccoli says:

    You are not going to believe this when I say I will get right on it! I have a job interview as a social media marketer for an art gallery this Friday. Thank you for your business idea! This will be fun!

    • Penelope Trunk
      Penelope Trunk says:

      OMG I have so many more ideas. There is site that helps AP art students write essay questions. An art gallery could do sample essay questions with their own artists. In the art world, I think going viral would be getting a name into an AP Art History essay because not only would the students know the artist, but so would all the readers. And the essay would place that artist in history.

      Another idea: Galleries should do vertical blogs. For example, a plate a day was a well-loved blog, but it was too much to keep up. But any plate that was on the site sold out. And Bored Panda features tons of artists who work in photograhy. So a gallery should pay someone to make a cool site about a certain type of art that they sell a lot of — textiles, ceramic sculpture, video, whatever — and then when there is a new artist, the gallery automatically has access to the place that can launch new artist in that field.

      Okay. One more thing. There are so many places that rich parents hang out with nothing to do, waiting for their kids. Galleries should ask if they can hang stuff there that wouldn’t get destroyed. Like tennis lesson viewing areas. Music lesson waiting rooms. SAT Tutor pickup spots. Hospitals buy a lot of art, and then when people see art they like they buy it later. It’s like hospitals are these huge marketing places that are not getting enough focus from artists who market themselves. But hospitals aren’t always rich people. Galleries should do the hospital thing where there are rich people. Plastic surgery offices. Lawyer offices. Just thinking out loud.

      Are you interviewing at Ferrin Contemporary? Just checking because I love that gallery so much — I’d be your assistant for free.


      • Steph
        Steph says:

        These are great ideas. I always thought that galleries should have some kind of membership program for people who want good art in their homes but might want the option to switch things out. You would look cultured, on top of emerging art, and not be married to one purchase.

  3. Sean Crawford
    Sean Crawford says:

    Memorizing art? Don’t! I took a college credit night class once in History of Modern Art in January. The September class had been history of art from prehistory to the start of modern art. I think many of my classmates were majoring in interior design.

    Our teacher told us that for the exam, in theory, we could just solely memorize a whole bunch of paintings but we would be cheating ourselves if we did so.

    I’m glad I took it. Now I know why so many university students told me “art history” was a favorite class. I had assumed they meant the history part, since history was so unteachable at the high school level. But no, it was the art they liked.

  4. Karelys
    Karelys says:

    I want credit for using grammar correctly when I was learning English during high school years. Because the no preposition at the end rule is basically Spanish grammar in English words.

    I was corrected by my history teacher for using it inadvertently. He said something about outdated and I heard “it’s wrong.”

    Maybe he did mention that although outdated it was still correct and I just couldn’t translate that fast in my head so I missed it. Or maybe I am giving him too much credit and he did a poor job and confused an already confused student.

    But now, I will show up to meetings and use correct grammar thanks to this blog and delight people. They love to be confused in a delightful way. I’ll make sure to wear red lipstick. People forgive a lot if they like to look at you, I have found. So they’ll forgive the rule that says “no prepositions at the end is ostentatious.”

    Your blog is valuable because it has always served me with knowledge to leap frog seemingly solid barriers to bigger and better. And I appreciate that immensely.

  5. Bettina
    Bettina says:

    I love this idea, and as an art historian, I thought about how to make this into a business idea, but there are other sources of information for Camelid sacrum in the shape of a canine than Khan Academy like flashcards from Quizlet or Trivium, the Art History Project.

    The thing with selling contemporary art is that it’s partly about prestige. So if the art is hanging in a doctor’s office, that might be less attractive than art that’s only in galleries and museums.

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