Unstoppable! A Day of Celebrating Women Entrepreneurs & Makers



On March 26, the Grand Rapids Art Museum (GRAM) will host Unstoppable! A Day of Celebrating  Women Entrepreneurs & MakersThe event is a collaboration between the GRAM, Local First, Grand Rapids Opportunities for Women (GROW), Avenue for the Arts and Creative Many, and will feature an all women artisan market, along with workshops and panels geared towards the business end of creativity.

“We really wanted the opportunity to showcase innovation in both design and in entrepreneurialism,” GRAM Communications Manager Cia Segerlind said.

The event aims to give participants a comprehensive view of what it looks like to generate business around artwork. Local women entrepreneurs, like Elyse Welcher of Little Wing Designs and Cynthia Hagedorn of Square Peg Events, will share their experiences and lead workshops. Featured panels and workshops will touch on a multitude of subjects, including maintaining values within a business, increasing revenue, expanding work space, creating new product and what to consider when pricing artwork for sale.

The idea for Unstoppable! came from the GRAM and GROW meeting to discuss the art museum’s current exhibit, Women, Art and Social Change: The Newcomb Pottery Enterprise. The exhibit features ceramics that were created by a group of women in New Orleans who came together in 1894 under an income generating model to make and sell their work.

“We were discussing how we could really harness the power of that (exhibit) and the spirit of that, and bring the museum to life and celebrate our local pioneering women,” Segerlind said.

These community focused organizations coming together to collaborate on Unstoppable! reflects the rise of entrepreneurship in the arts in the Grand Rapids. While Local First is nationally recognized for their work to stimulate local spending, Avenue for the Arts is active in cultivating business skills in artists with a class series called Break it Down: Doing Business. The GRAM’s 2016 exhibition calendar places such a heavy emphasis on innovative and entrepreneurial women artists that they have officially named the series of shows and events 2016: Year of the Innovative Woman.

Mary Hartfield is program manager and business counselor at GROW and was involved in coordinating Unstoppable!. Hartfield says that GROW is seeing more and more clients that are interested in starting or expanding a creative business.

“We have had a lot of people coming through and they are wondering, ‘should I go on Etsy, or do I want to open up a shop and display my work, or do I want to sell on the show circuit?’” Hartfield said.

Hartfield hopes the event inspires attendees to take the next step in their creative endeavors. 

“We have a lot of women who have a lot of different talents,” Hartfield said. “Some people think, ‘this cannot be a career, this is not something I can make a business out of,’ but you can.”


Unstoppable! A Day of Celebrating Women Entrepreneurs & Makers

Saturday, March 26, 2016

10:00 am – 5:00 pm

For more information, please visit http://www.artmuseumgr.org/calendar/unstoppable/

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