It’s been a minute since we’ve done an actual blog post, but there’s nothing like a polar vortex to get you to sit down and reflect, so here we go!
Brit here! I am formerly Crafty Mart’s Executive Director, but am now taking on the role of Director Emeritus for 2019. (Don’t I sound accomplished?!)
Marissa is taking over as Executive Director, and we’re beyond lucky to welcome back Cheryl to our Market Manager position!
I couldn’t ask for a better transition team to help me— you know, give away my baby. It’s totally going to be fine, right?
While we’re on the subject of my legacy at Crafty Mart, I’d like to share with you a few things I’m proud of.
In 2018, Crafty Mart gave $3250 in cash directly to artists.
Besides the Jennifer Davis Award given to Kyle Josza, Crafty Mart established Creative Catapult, a meal-based crowd-funded microgrant program for makers. We awarded a $2,000 grant to Broke N Bored Concepts and a surprise $1,000 to Threadbare with the help of our friends at the eBay Foundation.
With the funds established, we plan on giving away another $1,000 grant each year, and who knows? Maybe we’ll find some other sponsors who are enthusiastic about Akron’s thriving creative culture that will pitch in so that we can give out more surprise awards!
One thing is for sure: I am committed to providing economic opportunities for artists, and that is the legacy I want to leave behind to the Crafty Mart team. Not just providing a space for them to sell their wares to make potential sales, but I want to get them to have opportunities for them to get the cash they need and the resources they need to have a thriving business. (I’m not promising it’s not always going to be a hustle— it always will be.)
And of course, exposure. But we all know you can’t pay your bills in exposure.
In 2019, Crafty Mart is providing space for artists to offer workshops to the public to promote their businesses and (of course!) make money.
Crafty Mart grew their wings at their 10x10 feet office space at Summit Artspace which we had for years and left the nest to spread out at Bounce Innovation Hub. In this larger space, we can host our staff meetings, board meetings, and are stoked to open it up the public for artist workshops! The next one coming up is an Intro to Embroidery Class with Bethany Wells. It’s on my calendar, and I hope to see you there.
Crafty Mart is not your typical Arts Organization.
Coming from super DIY roots, Crafty Mart has been on a journey to find their way among the landscape of the formal nonprofit arts world since we got our 501(c)3 in 2015. We tried following suit with the status quo and hosting fancy galas to raise funds to leverage foundation dollars, but we came up short. Our people don’t want to throw their hard earned dollars at fancy galas— they want to have a good time, and they want their money to go directly to artists, not to organizations or corporations.
So we thought a lot about this, and we decided to go the church basement fundraising route as opposed to the fancy gala route. (Although don’t dare us to host a theme party, because I LOVE THEME PARTIES and I’m not afraid to form a committee!)
I hope you’ll join us for our 2019 signature fundraising event: Creative Catapult, where you can enjoy a modest meal in a handmade bowl that you get to take home and vote for your favorite maker who gets to take home most of our money. All the proceeds beyond that will fund the 2020 Creative Catapult grant.
Akron is the Best City in the World
There is no way I could have accomplished all I did in my tenor at Crafty Mart if I was any other place than Akron.
The City, the County, and the Community has gone out of their way to let us know that THE ARTS ARE VALUED, and I personally have connected with an entire community (my “friendors”— credit: Brandi) that I cannot imagine my life without.
I know that Crafty Mart will continue to host cool events and provide great entrepreneurial education to creatives with the help of our amazing philanthropic community alongside everyday people.
So what am I going to do now?
I’m currently working hard on Bechdel Fest, a film festival downtown Akron that draws attention to gender inequality in media that will take place May 29 - June of this year.
I’m also working with my good friend Megan on Midwest Craft Con, returning in 2020. Dates and keynote speaker announcements are forthcoming!
And did you know I have a family? I’m making a huge effort to spend more time while my kids still want me around. 😅
I’m sure we’ll see you all out and about at all the Arts events popping up in and around Akron, but in the meantime, thanks to everyone who has supported Crafty Mart over the years!