Archipelago’s Artist and Maker Conference caters to those in the creative economy
BELFAST — In recent years, the Midcoast has seen a number of events and conferences dedicated to uplifting those in the arts and creative economy and on April 1, Archipelago, retail side of the Island Institute, is bringing together artists and makers from around the state for a one-day event to offer networking, and practical tips and strategies to help people grow their small business.
Archipelago is a natural incubator for this event since they showcase Pine Tree State artists and makers whose work reflects the beauty and endurance of Maine’s islands and coast. Since opening in 2000, Archipelago has advanced the careers of more than 800 Maine residents, while playing a pivotal role in Maine’s creative economy.
Artists and Makers Conference 2016 organizer Lisa Mossel Vietze said, “I’ve been lucky enough, for the last eight years, to work with many artists and makers and I kept hearing the need for more support on the business side of running a creative business. I love working with artists, directly helping them with pricing, packaging, branding, and thought that if the Institute could do a conference for artists like we do for island teachers and island energy issues, that would be great.”
In 2014, Archipelago held the first conference for invited island artists, capped at 20 people. The next year, they doubled that number at the next event.
“This year, I wanted to really grow it so it’s now a public event open to anyone making art in Maine,” said Mossel Vietze. “I see this conference as an opportunity for artists to learn about the business side of running creative business. It’s great that folks are making soap, earrings, paintings, but now what? Can you get your work in the right place to be seen by your customers? How do you figure out pricing? How do you use social media? Most artists I work with and know are doing several other jobs, so how do we support the artists in starting or growing their business? This is a conference put on by artists for artists, artists who may not understand or be that comfortable with the language of the business development programs that are available.”
The workshops will range from marketing and selling fine arts to social media and branding, with lots of opportunities to network with other artists and makers.
“I believe that the creative economy is a significant and growing piece of Maine’s economy so that by supporting artists, we can strengthen their income diversity and opportunities and therefore grow Maine’s economy as well,” said Mossel Vietze.
Artists and Makers Conference 2016 will be held Friday, April 1 from 9 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. at the Hutchinson Center at 80 Belmont Ave. (Route 3) in Belfast. General admission is $25. Tickets and the day-long itinerary can be found here.
Kay Stephens can be reached at email@example.com