Spotlight on the Arts — Nov. 2012

By Lori Meadows

New Business Development Program Brings Kentucky Artisans to Market

The arts are a big business in Kentucky, which is home to more than 6,700 arts-related businesses that employ 24,400 people – nearly four times as many as Toyota or Ford. The Kentucky Small Business Development Center is working to grow that business with a new Access To Market program.

After a simple application process, the year-long ATM program will select 50 Kentucky artisan businesses for step-by-step business coaching, including product development, pricing expertise and wholesale relationship strategies. Participants will build an online presence, develop wholesale clients, and move from local to regional and national sales via tradeshow participation. Already established professional artisans may participate.

An estimated 150,000 emerging artists work part-time selling their craft online and at local fairs, but they have little access to the resources, counseling and direction for growing their skills and products into a profitable business.

A 2010 study by the Craft Organizations Development Association estimated the U.S. craft economy contributes $14 billion to annual GDP. The study showed:

• Larger studios with national wholesale distribution gross an average $288,596.

• Artisans relying on local retail sales gross $25,623 annually

Of 120,000 U.S. professional studio artisans, typically less than 6,000 will grow beyond local opportunities due to constantly shifting trends as well as imported knock-offs and craft look-a-likes in the marketplace.

Kentucky’s ATM aims to boost state artisans’ success rate. It is funded in part by a U.S. Small Business Administration grant and is a partnership between KSBDC and the Kentucky Arts Council agency within the Tourism, Arts and Heritage Cabinet.

ATM applications are available at ksbdc.org or email Vallorie Henderson at [email protected].

 Kentucky Arts Council Launches ‘Give a Gift’ from Kentucky Campaign

To support local businesses and encourage purchase of Kentucky-made holiday gifts, the Kentucky Arts Council has partnered with organizations across the state to promote Kentucky artists with a special Holiday Gift Guide featuring items such as bath and body products, Christmas ornaments, pottery, jewelry, music, notecards, paintings, photographs, prints and other handmade items.

Work can also be reviewed from the artist directories.

In addition to distributing the Gift Guide, the arts council will launch a Twitter campaign to promote gift ideas, holiday open house and open studio events, and retailers carrying merchandise made by artists selected to participate in the arts council’s Kentucky Crafted Program. Search #giveagiftfromky for tweets.

A listing of shops recommended by Kentucky Crafted artists will be available on the arts council’s website.

UK Awards Honorary Doctorate to J.D. Crowe

J.D. Crowe

Bluegrass banjoist and bandleader J.D. Crowe will be among recipients of an honorary University of Kentucky doctorate at commencement ceremonies in Lexington on Dec. 14. The UK Board of Trustees voted to confer a Doctor of Arts degree on the influential founder of the Kentucky Mountain Boys and The New South.

“To my knowledge, Crowe will be only the second bluegrass musician to receive such an honor from the University of Kentucky,” bluegrass expert and author Thomas Alder wrote. “The first was Bill Monroe, who was granted the degree in 1984 and received it at the June 1985 UK commencement ceremonies. Crowe has told me that he is very pleased, but does not want anyone to publicly address him as Dr. Crowe – still, I hope all will join me in offering their congratulations to this great artist and exemplary bluegrass leader.”

Last year, after a professional career that spanned six decades, Crowe, a Lexington native, decided it was time to retire from the road after playing out the dates on his 2012 calendar.

Arts Events Around the State

Handel: Messiah, The Lexington Philharmonic
Cathedral of Christ the King, Lexington
7:30 p.m., Dec. 15
lexphil.org
(859) 233-4226

Wendell Castle: Forms within Forms
Kentucky Museum of Art and Craft, Louisville
10 a.m.-5 p.m. Tues.-Fri.
11 a.m.-5 p.m. Sat.-Sun.
Nov. 30-Feb. 4, 2013
kentuckyarts.org
(502) 589-0102

Cirque Dreams Holidaze
River Park, Owensboro
7 p.m. Dec. 6
riverparkcenter.org
(270) 687-2787

The Threads that Bind: Textile Works by Kentucky Artisans
Kentucky Artisan Center at Berea
Through Feb. 23, 2013
kentuckyartisancenter.ky.gov
(859) 985-5448

Juice Newton
SkyPac, Bowling Green
7:30 p.m. Jan. 12, 2013
theskypac.com
(270) 904-1880

Themes and Variations in Judy Martin’s Quilts
The National Quilt Museum, Paducah
Dec. 12-March 11, 2013
quiltmuseum.org
(270) 442-8856

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