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Vermont Craft Leaders Group

Craft Leaders Group Three Year Plan Meeting – November 13, 2014

Vermont Department of Tourism and Marketing Conference Room, National Life - Montpelier

Present: Rob Hunter, Martha Fitch, Marcia Hammond, Catherine Brooks, Greg Worden.

GOAL ONE: Who Are We?

Are we organizations, or individuals or both? Do we include people who are new to their craft? Are we producing products that can be characterized as hand made? Who are we not? Food producers? Soap makers? Artists living outside Vermont?

Within this group of individuals, affinity groups can be determined. Examples, by price point, by media, by customer, by common ways of marketing.

A comprehensive list of makers in this community is needed as a first step before other goals can be met.

Some discussion took place about how to do this. Have a site (maybe surveymonkey which can be downloaded as an excel spreadsheet and imported into databases) where people can go to register. Every “craft leader” should encourage their network to register or perhaps give permission to the member organization to upload their info.

In addition, are we going to (and how will we) invite others to join the initial group?

GOAL TWO: Create Community – Bring Existing Individuals Together

We need to create events where people meet face to face. These can be regional. 

Are there already events like this – Art MeetUps? Shelburne Museum recently hosted one called PechaKucha Night where presenters (how selected?) presented 20 images in 20 seconds. Frog Hollow has had success with artist potlucks. We need to collect these events and start attending, and create a Best Practices list of how to do this. Another suggestion was to have an event that took place at the same time in different regions. Our “Leaders” could present in their areas.

Several organizations are having important anniversaries this year, Shelburne Craft School, Vermont Arts Council, Vermont Crafts Council, Danforth Pewter, Putney Craft Tour. Could parties be part of the way that people are brought together?

GOAL THREE: Demonstrate Economic Impact

A staff member at Vermont Department of Tourism and Marketing could help us design an effective survey that would yield data useful to Economic Development. We have several segments, some of which have been measured but an entire picture has not been captured.

At this point we don’t know a lot about our community. Who is retiring? Who is moving out of state? Who is entering the workforce? What are the demographics for those in their 40’s and 50’s?

What information is Economic Development seeking that could translate into funding for our community? 

Workforce development and the working landscape. Grants are available that bring together very different partners (from the Vermont Community Foundation).

GOAL FOUR: Include Younger Artists 

How is the work that the younger makers are producing different from the work that the retiring generation produced? Price points? Materials.

What are the networks that younger artists use? What materials? Should we be adding other categories to the classic five: Clay, Fiber, Glass, Metal and Wood? Recycled?

There is a sense that the older generation was producing functional work out of materials that lasted, and that that is not a concern of the younger generation who prize “green” products and use technology and mix media a lot more that the older group. Hence “maker fairs” and the Generator Space in Burlington. What does the older generation or community have that they want?

Where to find and engage these artists? Colleges, maker fairs, pop up galleries.