Monadnock Region, NH

Contact Name
Jessica Gelter
Project Dates
Workshop Leader
Creative Communities Exchange (CCX) 2017
Business Planning, Networking
Arts Alive! works in partnership with The Hannah Grimes Center for Entrepreneurs to present monthly Artist to Artist workshops. In these workshops presenters share tips and tricks to improve creative industry business practices - from Marketing and social media to selling platforms and copyright law, these free workshops cover what artists need to know to run successful businesses.
Project Goals
What were the specific goals of this creative economy project? Describe the community development challenge or opportunity that your project was designed to address:
The Hannah Grimes Center, a center for entrepreneurs in the Monadnock region, found that artists and crafters were not taking advantage of their programming at the level they had hoped. Artists, Crafters, and Makers were one of their key sectors to support when developing their programming, but they were having difficulty engaging this community. Arts Alive! was at that time looking to leverage and increase the economic impact of arts & culture businesses in the Monadnock region. So, in 2014, Arts Alive! and The Hannah Grimes Center developed a partnership to work to build business savvy in the creative industry sector.
If the goals change over time, please describe how:
We found that this was an excellent way to help creatives build relationships within their community. The need for a Creative Community had been communicated to Arts Alive! several times. This program has begun to build that among self-employed and independently operating artists.
Who was involved in this project and what did they do? (be sure to include the partners from outside of the creative sector and how local voices were included):
The Hannah Grimes Center has been instrumental in the coordination of this program. They provide online registration, co-promotion, and occasionally we utilize their space or presenter community to fill in gaps in our program.

The Monadnock Art X Tech makerspace partnered with us in 2016 to host an intensive series that culminated in a business planning workshop day. It was our intention to build our "makers" community by working with them, and we found a few stellar new businesses to bring in to the community. It was their intention to give their members access to business building programs, since they had not ventured into that territory yet.
How does this project relate to a larger community development strategy?
In our regional planning commission's master plan and our urban center (Keene)'s master plan arts were identified as a sector that enhanced quality of life and added exponentially to the local economy. Supporting creative businesses and offering entrepreneurship training to new local businesses are high up on our community's priority list of economic development initiatives.
Project Specifics
Please list the steps taken to implement the project:
So many good things happen over a coffee.

The idea was floated in a meeting between the directors of Arts Alive! and The Hannah Grimes Center, and then passed by one of Arts Alive!'s "Plenary" (aka community feedback and planning) Meetings. There was positive feedback and suggestions of topics, and that launched our first 5 months of programming.

Through community connections we brought in presenters who were experienced on the topics identified, and we hosted them at arts community spaces - from a gallery to an artists studio - across the region.

We had great attendance for our kick-off series. After those 5 months we developed a system of creating 3-6 months of programming at a time, getting feedback from the community as we go. We also developed a publicity plan and outreach list to get more folks in the doors.

This program has almost $0 direct costs because presenters want to give back or communicate about opportunities through their businesses/organizations, and hosts want to share their work with the creative community. We have hosted a variety of presenters from the NH Division of Travel and Tourism Development to a commercial photographer to a project management expert to gallery and retail store owners. We have had presentations at artist studios, community centers that show art and host art classes, galleries, performing arts venues, and more.
If the project steps changed over time, please describe how:
We are constantly seeking feedback from our attendees.

One major change is how we ask presenters to structure their talk. We ask presenters to incorporate a hands-on element to their presentation and to give attendees a "take-away" that they can directly apply immediately. This active and interactive approach is much appreciated by artists who love connecting with each other, and having an easy thing they can go home and apply to their business.

We have also changed how we structure the flow of the event. Now, artists come in, we do a introduction session - everyone says their name, where they are from, and what they make / their medium. Then the presenter does his or her piece for 45-75 minutes, ending with a Q&A session. Finally we break for informal networking for 15-30 minutes. The opportunity to have open space and get to know each other has resulted in some interesting relationships, partnerships, and collaborations.
What were your major obstacles for the completion of the project?
There are three ongoing obstacles:
1. to find the funding for the administrative time that goes into the work. We have found one sponsor, but would like more to support the project's administrative overhead
2. to make sure registrants actually show up. We are considering charging $5 or $10 per workshop so that attendees are financially invested in showing up. The Hannah Grimes Center has begun to do this with their other programs and has found that there is a better registration to participation ratio.
3. to make sure people register in advance. We have encountered a couple programs where zero to two registrations came in, so we cancelled the event, but then several people showed up at the location for the workshop that had been cancelled. We are still seeking solutions to this issue.
Who or what was instrumental in overcoming these obstacles?
Community and partner feedback have been essential to overcoming obstacles. We pride ourselves in reaching out to our stakeholders as often as possible.
What top three suggestions would you give to others attempting a similar project?
Engage your successful arts community as presenters and hosts - its a great opportunity for them to give back

Engage your local arts institutions to host - its a great way to build community and connections for emerging artists and institutions looking to grow their audiences

Ask your creative community what they need to build their businesses and what the barriers are to access the resources already in your community - We're creative, we think out of the box, we can facilitate connections for artists by changing a simple where or who!
Project Impact
How has this project strategically connected arts and cultural activities to social, economic, and cultural issues in your community? What is different in your community as a result of this project?
This program has made entrepreneurial and business training more accessible to artists. More artists and makers are engaged in thinking of their work as a business.
Why do you consider the project successful, as related to your project goals above?
The Hannah Grimes Center does excellent work building and supporting small business across the Monadnock region. Our goal has been to engage more creatives with the resources at the Hannah Grimes Center, using the Artist to Artist program as a feeder for their other workshops and trainings.
Additionally, success looks like a stronger creative community in our region - more connected, more self-aware, and less isolated.
How did you measure this success or progress?
We are constantly evaluating individual programs and individual successes, but we also see larger-picture outcomes including the Hannah Grimes Center being able to serve a greater portion of the creative community in our region.
Please describe any unexpected impacts:
An unexpected outcome has arisen out of strengthening the creative community. We have found that artists in our Artist to Artist community are more engaged in community development and planning. For example we held a public feedback session on developing a proposal for a city arts commission for our region's urban center. We had significant attendance by independent artists and creative business owners at this meeting compared to outreach meetings in years past.
CCX Workshop Handout