FRANKFORT, Ky. (Jan. 13, 2014)— Seven Kentucky Crafted program artists will participate in the Kentucky Arts Council’s business incubator program at the nation’s premier wholesale trade show for American-made craft in January.
Buyers Market: The American Made Show is Jan. 18-21 in Philadelphia. It attracts more than 4,500 wholesale buyers from Canada and the United States who purchase and resell the highest quality art and craft produced in the country.
Each year, the arts council facilitates participation in the show for select Kentucky Crafted program participants who are interested in expanding their market reach at the national level. The show introduces Kentucky Crafted artists to national and international wholesale markets.
“Participating in this trade show grows Kentucky arts businesses through direct sales, referrals and increased exposure to the media and retail venues throughout the country,” said Ed Lawrence, arts marketing director for the arts council. “This program not only benefits the artists, but it also creates and reinforces positive brand recognition for all Kentucky Crafted artists and the state as a whole.”
Artists are selected to exhibit in the Kentucky Crafted booth at the Buyers Market based on market readiness and their ability to produce high-quality work.
“The five artists who exhibited in the Kentucky Crafted booth at the Buyers Market in 2013 averaged $3,500 in sales and opened an average of eight new accounts,” said Lori Meadows, arts council executive director. “Due to the success of those artists, we decided to expand our booth space at this year’s show to accommodate more Kentucky artists.”
Lexington potter Amelia Stamps creates custom ceramics for her business Stamps Pottery and is a third-year participant in the arts council’s incubator program. Stamps said the program has given her the opportunity to execute a gradual and methodical business expansion.
“I was trying to get back into wholesaling and doing the Buyers Market with the Kentucky Arts Council has been an incredible way to do that,” said Stamps. “It’s nice to have that financial assistance; it really prepares you for paying for a booth on your own. The arts council’s angle is very realistic.”
Stamps plans to continue showing her work at future Buyers Markets with other artists she has met through the show. She said participating in the incubator program has positively influenced her business in a variety of ways.
“I started my business with local galleries who had seen me at craft shows,” said Stamps. “Now I’m in 30 to 35 galleries across the country. I wouldn’t be able to reach out to those galleries without the Buyers Market. I love having that access to galleries I would never otherwise meet.”
In addition to Stamps, Kentucky Crafted program artists who will exhibit at the Buyers Market in Philadelphia are:
♦ Traci Cassilly, Knitting Divas, Louisville
♦ Judy and Gordon Geagley, Judy Geagley by Hand, Tollesboro
♦ Jerry Hollon, Jerry Hollon Woodworking, Richmond
♦ Melissa Oesch, Re-Imagined by Luna, Lexington
♦ Cecilia Ridge, Blue Heron Silks, Fisherville
♦ Steve Scherer, Scherer Glass, Edmonton
The arts council’s Kentucky Crafted program enables Kentucky artists and craftspeople to reach regional, national and international markets through state-sponsored wholesale and retail promotional venues. They are the only Kentucky artists who can exhibit at Kentucky Crafted: The Market.
This year, Kentucky Crafted: The Market will be March 8-9 at the Lexington Convention Center. Participants in the Buyers Market who will exhibit at Kentucky Crafted: The Market are The Geagleys, Hollon, Oesch, Ridge and Stamps.
Kentucky Crafted artists will exhibit in booth 951 at the Buyers Market. For more information about Buyers Market: The American Made Show, visit http://americanmadeshow.com. Endowment for the Arts.