Artisan Workshop a Success

On Saturday, January 30, 24 artists and artisans braved the threat of snow to attend the first Berkeley Arts Council “Business of Art” workshop.

A wide range of topics were discussed and the artists participated in a needs-assessment process that will suggest the direction of further workshops.

Ron DeWitt from Tamarack talks to a full house about how to have work juried for Tamarack and how the Tamarack Foundation works to support artists and artisan throughout West Virginia.

Ron DeWitt, the Artisan Services Director from Tamarack made the 5-hour trip from Beckley, WV to provide an overview of the Tamarack system, and tips and advice on pricing, marketing, and the development of a plan for an arts business. Ron made the point that even part-time artists need a plan to develop their market, present their work, and identify sales opportunities. On pricing, he noted that he had seen pricing calculations where the artist was making barely $2 per hour and concluded that the artist could not sustain his or her business at that level. Ron also discussed the process for artists and artisans to jury into Tamarack and said they were planning a jurying pre-screening session for Martinsburg some time in March. (Stay tuned for details when we get them.)

Ron also left the participants with a wide range of resource documents that included lists of galleries and other potential sales outlets, resources on business matters, and sources for a range of products and materials that artists and artisans can use to package, present, and market their work.

The second presentation of the morning was by Nancy McKeithen from The McKeithen Group, a design firm based in Harper’s Ferry. Nancy went over a variety of design principles for brochures, flyers, web sites and other promotional materials. She discussed factors in deciding whether an artist should try to do these kinds of things herself or whether she should work with a designer, and gave tips on how to work with a designer.

By lunchtime, the snow had arrived but almost all of the participants returned after lunch for the afternoon session.

Nancy McKeithen discusses aspect web sites for artists during her presentation.

Nancy McKeithen picked up after lunch with some great tips on marketing in general and then Rip Smith demonstrated some ideas on how to develop web sites without programming and at virtually no cost. Rip showed how to set up a blog site using WordPress.com and then showed some examples of marketing artwork on etsy.com. Both of those sites offer facilities for a web presence at no cost and are easy to set up.

Unfortunately, two of the afternoon presenters cancelled due to the weather so it was decided to shut down early so people could get home safely in the snow. The cancelled presentations will be worked into future events.

Rip Smith, who designed the program, said “I am thrilled that there was such a strong response to this initiative. We got some great feedback from the participants and their needs-assessment surveys will give us a road-map for future workshops and training. I have wanted to do this kind of thing for a while and with the foundation we laid today, I see a great program going forward.”

Finding our groove

Malinda Shaver, Rip Smith deliver Berkeley Arts Council Information to Senator John Unger
Malinda Shaver and Rip Smith deliver Berkeley Arts Council information to Senator John Unger.

The Capitol in Charleston was humming Monday with fifty-some tables where the legislators and others had a chance to grasp the scope and variety of arts activities in the Mountain State. It was a first for Berkeley County: an “umbrella” organization was present to put our local artists and organizations in front of the legislators.

We were able to speak personally with several of our lawmakers, outlining the benefits of having an arts council. And we exchanged updates with several people we had met at the Arts Assembly. We had company, too, since at least three jurisdictions are in early stages of forming arts councils.

Watch for information soon on legislation that will lay the groundwork for integrating the arts into local economic recovery efforts. Your input can help make it happen.

And with your support the BAC will continue to grow and succeed.

The Arts Descend on the Capitol

The Berkeley Arts Council is among the more than 50 exhibitors that descended on the WV State Capitol in Charleston for the annual Arts Day at the Capitol.

We are here to talk to our state legislators as the new legislative session begins and let them know about the strong and growing arts community in Berkeley County.

We’ll have more to report after we return later in the week.

Getting Ready for Arts Day in Charleston

We are getting ready for Arts Day in Charleston, where representatives of the arts community throughout West Virginia will display information about how they are contributing to the creative life around the state.

For the first time ever, the Berkeley County arts community will be represented by an arts council. We will have one of the 50+ tables set up in State Capitol Rotunda on January 25 to  show the legislators who are currently in session that the arts are indeed alive and well in Berkeley County.

We need your  help. If you have an arts event or performance of any kind in the next few months, please post your information on our Berkeley Arts Bulletin “data bank” by Saturday morning (Jan. 23) and we will make sure your event is displayed in the Capitol.

Here’s the link: http://www.berkeleyartswv.org/bab

If you have printed materials, we need to get them from you no later than Saturday morning. Please contact us via email at berkeleyartswv (at) gmail (dot) com. Give us your phone number and we will arrange to get the material from you.

Thanks for helping us spread the word!

Business of Art Workshop for Artists and Artisans

The Berkeley Arts Council, in association with the Tamarack Foundation, is offering a one day workshop on the Business of Art, Saturday, January 30 from 9am-4pm.

The workshop was developed to give artists and artisans an overview of the knowledge and skills they need to develop a successful business around their creative work.

The workshop is designed to help the part-time artist looking to help defray the costs of making their art as well as the artist who seeks to develop a full-time business.

Details are available at www.berkeleyartswv.org/ars_workshop_013010.php

The morning session will provide a broad overview of the business of at by the product and marketing specialists from Tamarack, based in Beckley, West Virginia. Topics to be covered include a presentation about Tamarack, including Tamarack Gallery guidelines, product presentation and pricing of work, and marketing strategies.

Afternoon sessions will focus on specific issues, with local experts in graphic design, web technology, gallery “awareness” and more. In addition, participants will develop a list of their needs for additional training and education, which will become the basis for future workshops.

Registration in advance is required. Registration is free to Berkeley Arts Council member, $10 for non-members. Artists and Artisans can join the Council for $35 for the next year, which covers this workshop and will entitle them to member rates on future workshops and activities.

More information is available by email to information@berkeleyartswv.org or telephone 304.596.0873.

This workshop is part of an ongoing Artist and Artisan Resource Program, which will seek expertise in areas such as the use of technology, business practices, promotion and marketing, web sites for artists, presentation of artwork, photographing artwork, preparation of submissions to juried exhibits or other competitions, and other areas that may be identified. The Program will offer workshops and possibly individual counseling that would be offered at very low cost to artists, artisans, and arts organizations.

The registration form can be downloaded here.