LINCOLN, NE — Native artists from Nebraska and South Dakota gathered here May 13 and 14 for a training and skills development workshop this weekend.
Hosted by Native360 Loan Fund, the session was taught by clothing designer Leslie Deer (Mvskoke Nation) and entrepreneur Felecia Freeman (Citizen Potawatomi), both experienced trainers with First Peoples Fund of Rapid City, S.D. Participants received a comprehensive handbook that includes information on a number of topics including budgeting, scheduling, marketing, exhibiting and applying for grants.
“We appreciated the opportunity to use the gallery and the other facilities at Turbine Flats,” said Native360 Executive Director Pete Upton. “It’s a great space with lots of room to spread out, work on skills development and do some learning.”
During the skills development portion of the clinic, artists practiced elevator speeches to pitch their art. They also brought in pieces of art and received hands on coaching to develop their product photography skills using a lightbox and photography mobile app.
The skills workshop also included an ecommerce session with training on a mobile app that can be used to list products, monitor sales and process and ship orders. Artists also worked on written artist statements and recorded videos and still photos to be used for social media promotion, marketing materials and web sites.
During the workshop, artist compared notes on the best shows to visit and discussed how to create a create and budget for a show calendar. They also discussed how to price and various payment gateways. Individual web site consultations were also completed.
The two-day session took place in the Resonator Gallery at Turbine Flats, a cooperative community of entrepreneurs and artists not far from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln. The facility is home to Native and non-Native artists and includes a makers’ space that houses 3D printers, laser engraving and computerized embroidery machines and other equipment. An expansion is underway and Native artists are encouraged to visit the facility Monday nights at 5 p.m. to learn more.
The facility also includes a podcast studio, photography and video studios as well as The Reactor, a coffee shop that allows local artists to sell their wares.
The session was funded in part by a USDA rural development grant. Artists who attended both days of the workshop received three years of free web hosting donated by a local web development company.