Hello Vermont Crafts Council Members,
I'm writing to you to let you know what's ahead in 2017 and to tell you what we have been doing on your behalf during the past year.
In 2016 the Vermont Crafts Council celebrated 26 years of serving creative people whose handmade artwork reflects the authenticity and distinctive character of Vermont. By providing education, networking and marketing support, our goal is to make sure that fine art and craft will thrive and continue to be a vital element of the creative economy of our state.
Annual Spring Marketing Conference
We chose to have our conference at the White River Craft Center in Randolph with a keynote speaker, Laura Hale on Can I Make Money With an Etsy Shop? Afternoon strands included, Selling Work On Instagram, Email Marketing with MailChimp, Easy Image Editing, and Sharing Your Journey Through Blogging. A highlight of the day was the delicious Thai meal served by the restaurant on site at WRCC. Laura's presentation was universally described as awesome!
Spring Open Studio
Despite record hot weather, 202 art sites were open during Spring Open Studio with over 3800 visitors who spent $184,000 on artwork. We printed and distributed 20,000 copies of the Open Studio booklet, made blog posts, Google maps, Facebook posts, purchased radio and print ads and mailed maps to individuals.
Fall Open Studio Weekends
After having initially decided not to do Fall Open Studio in 2016, we were approached by the chair of American Craft Week and asked to reconsider, so we did. We took the opportunity to present two weekends and to evaluate Columbus Day Weekend as a possibly better weekend than the first weekend in October. We are still tabulating the results of the weekend but a preliminary look shows 96 total participants with 78 participating on the first weekend and 61 on the second. We printed 10,000 copies of a new rack card promoting both weekends and Spring Open Studio 2017. In addition, we redesigned the Fall guide from a booklet into a folding map and printed and distributed 15,000 copies of that.
What's New For 2017?
Celebrating 25 Years of Spring Open Studio!
We are very excited to be planning several celebrations for our 25th year. One idea we have is to develop a year's worth of workshops lead by our members as a way to promote the educational nature of Open Studio and the importance of passing on your knowledge of your craft. This will allow us to promote the many teachers among us. Details to come.
Building on Flexible Pathways & Proficiency Based Graduation
As a way of meeting our goal to include and support younger artists, we are developing a program that brings high school students into our studios. This is related to new laws governing how high school students show the proficiencies necessary to graduate from high school.
Announcing A New Membership Category
Our new membership category will serve any company that provides services to artists. For instance, the Artist Services category might include businesses that sell artist supplies and tools, that are website or graphic designers, and who offer framing services and product photography.
It has been a busy year with redesigning, adjusting and upgrading our services. We have done this with a tiny office, a part time staff and a volunteer board of directors (most of whom manage their own arts businesses). We need your help now to continue our dedicated advocating for you and our community.
Our efforts at fundraising have been successful but we still need to build larger reserves that allow us to develop new programs, to expand our services, and shift from a fee based budget to one that encompasses a diversity of funding sources.
How You Can Help
1. Don't wait until the last minute to register for Open Studio Weekend. The earlier we know you are on board, the better we can plan to promote you.
2. Tell your artist neighbors about us. Or tell us about your artist neighbors - we will send them an information packet.
3. Make a Donation. If we have helped you in the past year, please give back to us! Any donation is tax deductible.
4. Buy an Ad in the Vermont Studio Tour Guide - You can get a lot of exposure for $160 and this gives us more promotion dollars to spend.
5. Upgrade to an Enhanced Page - For as little as $5 - $8 a month you can add images and text to your member page on our website. See details in Your Choices, enclosed.
Act Now. Return your membership and Open Studio registrations. Incentive! Any membership or Open Studio registration received before December 1st will be entered into a raffle for a free ad in our Vermont Studio Tour booklet or a free enhanced page on our website.
Martha Fitch, Executive Director
Vermont Crafts Council - PO Box 938 - Montpelier VT 05601, (802) 223-3380
Location: 104 Main St, Suite 4, Montpelier