July 20, 2019
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Annual Artists and Makers Conference to kick off with workshops by Robert Shetterly

Community Author: Lisa Mossel Vietze
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Archipelago | Contributed
Archipelago | Contributed

NORTHPORT — The sixth annual Artists & Makers Conference will be held 2-6:30 p.m. Thursday, April 4 and 8:15 a.m.- 5 p.m. Friday, April 5 at Point Lookout. This year’s event will kick off with a half-day of hands-on workshops and a special evening presentation by artist Robert Shetterly around his nationally recognized “Americans Who Tell the Truth” portraits and narratives. Friday the conference will hold sessions offering practical tips and strategies to help start and grow arts-related businesses in Maine. Hosted by Archipelago and the Island Institute, the conference is open to all artists and makers who live and produce work in Maine.

Thursday afternoon will begin with targeted sessions for Maine artists and arts-based businesses that include a DIY photography workshop, portfolio and product reviews, and a presentation on small business funding opportunities.

The evening will culminate with “Americans Who Tell the Truth: An Evening with Robert Shetterly” 5-6 p.m. Shetterly’s “Americans Who Tell The Truth” portraits and narratives highlight citizens who courageously address issues of social, environmental and economic fairness. By combining art and other media, it offers resources to inspire a new generation of engaged Americans who will act for the common good, our communities and the Earth. During this special event, Shetterly will present from his body of work and share his process for how he chooses who to portray. Appetizers will be provided.

“We are very excited about expanding the conference into Thursday this year,” said Lisa Mossel Vietze, director of Archipelago and conference organizer. “We know that many of our attendees are looking for opportunities to really dive deep into key areas, so we built out this time to specifically address some of those interests and provide a space for them to do this.

“It’s a balancing act. There’s always a wide array of relevant topics and pieces we’d like to highlight, but we try to be considerate of the time that these small business owners are spending away from their businesses and from creating. We work really hard to design a schedule that features all areas of our creative economy and offers sessions and tools that are useful for everyone. This year, we have brought in some great industry professionals who will leverage their expertise and skills to provide unique insight for our attendees. In addition, we are proud to continue to offer the peer-to-peer workshops and networking pieces that conference guests look forward to every year.”

With a full day of workshops and presentations on Friday, attendees will have the opportunity to choose from sessions on email marketing, social media, branding best practices, artistic collaborations, insurance planning, pathways for fine art and craft and more.

— Rich Brooks, founder and president of the Portland-based digital agency Flyte New Media, will speak about the importance and impact of email marketing. Brooks is a nationally-recognized speaker on entrepreneurship, digital marketing and social media. The author of  “The Lead Machine: The Small Business Guide to Digital Marketing,” he is also the “tech guru” on the evening news show, “207,” which airs on the NBC affiliates in Maine.

— Whitney Burdsall, logistics director for Green Tree Event Consultants—producers of the New England Made Giftware & Specialty Food Shows—will guide participants through the important aspects of both wholesale and retail markets and how each could be a part of a winning business model. Burdsall has worked with hundreds of artisans preparing for the New England Made Shows and knows first-hand the challenges and opportunities artisans encounter running a successful wholesale business.

— Brian Reid, a master fine furniture maker based in midcoast Maine, will speak about the inspiration and artistic growth found in collaborations, highlighting his work with Maine State prison inmates in furniture making over the last eight years. Reid splits his time between furniture making and fine woodworking course instruction with over 20 years of teaching worldwide in the U.S., U.K., New Zealand and Australia. He currently leads the 12 Week Intensive Program at the Center for Furniture Craftsmanship and lectures and speaks about contemporary design practices and the history of furniture to a wide range of audiences.

Friday afternoon will also feature a keynote presentation by Chebeague Island resident and former director of the Jordan National Gallery of Fine Arts, Suhail Bisharat, who will describe the challenging task of building and housing a collection of contemporary art from across the Arab and Islamic world, the role of national leadership, artists and the private sector as they came together to create the Jordan National Gallery of Fine Arts in Amman. Inaugurated in 1980 by the late King Hussein and Her Majesty Queen Noor, the permanent collection includes the work of more than 800 artists from 59 countries.

Additional speakers at the conference will include: Master clay artist George Pearlman of St. George; Maine landscape painter Colin Page; visual artist Kenny Cole; Barbara Michelena, owner of CRAFT Gallery in Rockland; contemporary sculptor Jesse Salisbury; Laura Pierce of Iris Designs; Alex Steed of Knack Factory; Karen D’Silva of Karen D’Silva Creative Services; Laura Serino of Island Apothecary, CERF+, Gabrielle Melchionda of Mad Gab’s, and more.

Workshop sessions at the conference offer three themed tracks – Foundational, Transformational, and Inspirational – which tailor presentations for those just starting a business, those looking to grow their business and those interested in tips for maintaining fulfillment, passion and inspiration in their business. Attendees are able to focus on one track throughout the day, or they can mix and match from different ones depending upon their areas of interest. Other highlights include a Pecha Kucha-style event to inspire creativity and opportunities to network with others.

General registration for the 2019 Artists & Makers Conference is open through March 29 and costs $25 for Thursday afternoon only, $35 for Friday only, or $45 for both days. Tickets include hors d’oeuvres for Thursday evening, and a continental breakfast, lunch, fruit, and beverages for Friday. Media sponsor is Down East magazine.

To register or view a complete agenda with session descriptions, visit http://www.islandinstitute.org/events.

For questions regarding registration or the conference, please contact Archipelago Director Lisa Mossel Vietze at (207) 596-0701.