I have just spent the last couple of days at an "Arts Business Boot Camp" sponsored by the Arts Business Institute and Handmade in America. It was held at Haywood Community College in Clyde, somewhere I've longed to attend to learn art techniques in metals, fibers, etc. for about 13 years now (family responsibilities have intervened). So not only was I on campus there (I love being on college campuses: they are so filled with inquisitive, exploring energy!), I was able to dialogue with and learn from three nationally known arts business people.
While I am not a metalsmith (yet), I am aware of a couple of things: metalsmiths connect pieces of metal through "cold connections" (rivets, etc) or soldering (heated method). Well, this weekend made me think of "warm connections". There were about 80 folks attending the ABI's Boot Camp, and there were lots of connections made in a warm and welcoming environment. Meghan, the executive director of ABI, set the pace for that: patient, attentive to detail, and friendly.
The speakers were all a wealth of wisdom that each of them shared generously. Wendy Rosen owns the Rosen Group which has provided artists with business services since 1981. Wendy has focused on supporting and encouraging quality American-made crafts over the past 25+ years. Check out her website at http://www.americancraft.com/ for lots of info.
Nancy Markoe owns her own gallery in St. Pete, FL. Coming to art with a varied and creative background (film and broadcast production, followed by publishing and graphic arts, and then 12 years as a potter before entering craft retailing). So Nancy, too, had a wide range of experiences to share with us. http://www.nancymarkoegallery.com/
Milon Townsend is a nationally-known glassmaker who is as down to earth as they come! He is a phenomenal glass artist (treat yourself: http://www.milontownsend.com/) and has written books on marketing guidelines and insights for artists (among others). My 16 year young daughter attended the conference with me and he took a shine to her, including her in group discussions (where she grinned and mostly giggled). Paige is taking a small business class in high school and said what she learned this weekend reinforced what she is learning at school. (I'm sure the presenters will be glad to read that!)
And there were the other attendees, men and women at all levels of art business development. Melinda Knies is the manager of Mountain Made Gallery (in the Grove Arcade in Asheville: http://www.mtnmade.com/ for a visual treat!) and was the first attendee I saw. What a pleasure to be around her all weekend! Melinda is truly a wise and generous person who is a fountain of information and encouragement for artists.
I'm starting this blog because I learned that one way to "get my work out there" is to have a blog for marketing. This blog is intended to share arts business info and also to be my own wanderings, wonderings, and musings... as well as my dances with the Muse and Nature. This morning, in taking a photographic walk around my yard, I found daffodils which had stood bravely through last week's surprising snowfall and frigid temps. I've cut a few for my desk and I can smell their spring scent right now. I also saw this group who were very excited about whatever was happening over in the side yard (can't you hear them whispering?).
I hope your day is full of enchanting excitement!
Wishing us all Peace AND Prosperity,