multiple locations, ME

Contact Name
Jennifer Neptune
Project Dates
September 2011 - present
Workshop Leader
Creative Communities Exchange (CCX) 2013
Tags
Business Planning, Marketing, Networking
The Maine Indian Basketmakers Alliance (a non profit arts organization serving Wabanaki basketmakers and artists) and Four Directions Development Corporation (a Native American community development organization serving the Native peoples of Maine) worked together to help artists from Maine tribal communities through the Wabanaki Artisan Initiative. This initiative helps Native artists from the Passamaquoddy, Penobscot, Micmac, and Maliseet tribes (collectively known as the Wabanaki) learn business skills, promote their work and themselves as artists, and find markets for their artwork.
Project Goals
What were the project goals?
To increase the number of tribal artists, to increase their business skills, and to help them promote and find markets their work.
Have they changed over time?
No
Who are the project partners and stakeholders?
The project partners are the Maine Indian Basketmakers Alliance (MIBA) and Four Directions Development Corporation (FDDC).
The stakeholders are tribal artists from the four Wabanaki tribes (Passamaquoddy, Penobscot, Micmac, and Maliseet) located in Maine.
Project Specifics
How was the project implemented? What were the steps taken?
By combining the strengths of each organization and sharing an employee to work on these initiatives the following programs were implemented to help tribal artisans: Wabanaki branding tags were developed and made available for artist use; a brochure was developed to promote the four annual MIBA artist markets; a product photography workshop was conducted; artist postcards were developed; artist professional development training was provided; and a marketplace website was developed.
Have they been refined over time?
Yes, adjustments were made when necessary.
Obstacles
What were your major obstacles?
As with any program, finding funding to continue providing these services is the biggest obstacle. Coordination was another potential obstacle which was solved by sharing an employee to work with the artists and programs.
Who or what was instrumental in overcoming these obstacles?
Sharing an employee was a creative solution.
What top three suggestions would you give to others attempting a similar project?
Be open to collaborations, and think creatively about how to work together towards a common goal.
Be willing to explore different ways of coordinating projects together.
Communicate openly and clearly about expectations and progress throughout the process.
Project Impact
How has this project contributed to creative community building?
This project has contributed to a more vibrant Native arts community by increasing sales of art for Native entrepreneurs.
Why do you consider the project successful, as related to your project goals above?
It is still in progress.
Were there unexpected impacts?
Still in progress.
CCX Workshop Handout