PEMBROKE — The Museum of Southeast American Indians at the University of North Carolina at Pembroke, Kim Pevia, owner and CEO of K.A.P. Innovations, and UNCP’s Entrepreneurship Incubator are collaborating to put an end to the phrase “starving artists.”
With a launch date of Sept. 10, Artist Market Pembroke will provide approved regional artists, in and around Robeson County, a monthly opportunity to market and demonstrate their crafts, as well as learn how to grow their businesses, inside the Entrepreneurship Incubator at 202 Main St. Pembroke. Artists tables are available to rent for $20, which must be paid for in advance at the Incubator. Extra tables can be rented by artists as well.
“We came together as a group because there was a need to have a place for artists to sell their work,” said James Freeman, interim director of the Entrepreneurship Incubator. “The incubator is the perfect place for that, to help them realize they can be an actual business, to give them an opportunity to sell.”
Artists can also use the event time to talk about what they need to promote their businesses, such as websites, lending services or marketing materials.
“We can help provide those things here at the incubator,” Freeman said. “If we can’t, we can help find them someone who can.”
Alisha Locklear Monroe, curatorial technician at the Museum of the Southeast American Indian, said the Artist Market “is something that many artists have dreamed of for a long time in this area.”
“When a group of us started River Roots Arts Guild to serve artists in the regional area four years ago, what came out in the conversation was the need for a place to sell their items,” Monroe said. “Most artists tend to not be business-minded people. We’ve tried to help with that.”
Monroe said the event is not a “market perse, but a place to have where we would be able to celebrate ourselves as artist and share our craft with other people.”
Resources provided by the university and the business community will enable the market to help artists learn how to create websites and portfolios, how to use a Square Credit Card Reader on their phones for purchases, and how to approach gallery directors for shows.
“We’ve had some workshops like that, but you never have anyone to hold your hand through the process,” Monroe said. “It’s a great connection and opportunity for us.”
In addition to offering professional enrichment opportunities, the Artist Market will connect “folks who do this for the love of it and folks who want the beautiful jewelry, the shirts and the art,” Pevia said. “The goal is to have it expand beyond that, to include opportunities to demonstrate their work — beading, tapestry, painting.”
Artist Market Pembroke is being modeled after the visual arts exchange creativity incubator, VAE, in Raleigh and the more global HandMade in America project in Asheville.
Pevia believes “every thriving downtown is tied to a thriving artist community” and essential to revitalization in Pembroke.
Pembroke is one of five cities chosen for the InnovateNC project, an intensive two-year, cross-city learning collaborative supporting five North Carolina communities, which also includes Asheville, Greensboro, Wilson, Wilmington and the Carolina Coast.
One of the adopted innovations for Pembroke is native and regional art.
“It’s a very inclusive project,” Pevia said. “We want everybody. It simply has to be handmade art.”
Reach Juanita Lagrone at [email protected] or call 910-416-5865.