The Pocumtuck Valley Memorial Association's Old Deerfield Craft Fairs, which attract 25,000 attendees to the region each year, will be used as a catalyst to draw in participation from the local farms and the producers of locally made food. Currently, there are no local farms or food producers directly participating and taking advantage of the seasonal draw that the craft fairs bring.
By working with the Community Involved in Supporting Agriculture (CISA) and the Franklin County Community Development Corporation (FCCDC), Old Deerfield Craft Fairs will draw in participation from local farms and food producers for a series of trial opportunities. The Fostering Art and Culture Project (FACP) will fund a collaborative booth space at the summer and fall craft fairs where farmers and food producers can test the craft market for their goods. By providing space and staffing, as well as a mechanism for recording sales and distributing information about stores, working farm visits, and internet sales, the FACP will demonstrate the viability for integrating the rich cultural assets of craft, agriculture, and food production. The winter holiday craft fair will seek a fee from the farms and businesses that wish to participate. The fees will cover the cost of booth space and staffing.
Simultaneously, the FACP will work with local artists and artisans to develop a similar communal booth that highlights local arts and crafts for the region's agricultural fairs and farmers' markets. Marketing will include funding for some food producers and artisans to explore developing custom labels and products for specific events that are endorsed by Old Deerfield Craft Fairs and receive special promotion and visibility through the print flyers, over 60,000 direct mail cards, the internet, and Old Deerfield's network of crafters and crafts related businesses, including Yankee Candle.
Additionally, marketing outreach will target specific tourists and residents who are interested in natural and organic foods. Special advertising will highlight the local farms and food producers, and print and web resources will be generated to allow craft fair visitors to explore beyond the fair site. As farms and food producers learn the benefits of participating in craft fairs, they will earn greater profits and visibility by purchasing their own booths to sell their goods. Image: Lesley Hall's Sweetie Pie Cookies photographed by Edward Judice Photography
The Brick + Mortar International Video Art Festival, Greenfield Hub
The 2nd annual Brick + Mortar International Video Art Festival, scheduled for October, 2010, will present cutting edge video art works from around the world in Greenfield. The downtown is transformed into a video art district with a selection of contemporary video art exhibitions scattered throughout a variety of historic buildings. Curated by staff from the Clark Art Institute, the aim of the festival is to create a unique and exciting opportunity for the public to see contemporary art and to reconnect with the town's architectural spaces.
Downtown Greenfield is a community that is undergoing a radical transformation with the renovation of 10 major historic properties at the center of this city. These buildings, in various stages of renovation, will serve as the stage for a series of temporary video art installations.
The first Brick + Mortar festival was a great success, despite a short planning window of two months and a very limited budget. With a modest investment in marketing and the enthusiastic participation of the downtown businesses, approximately 500 people were drawn to view the films, dine in local restaurants or finish the evening at an area tavern. We will expand on the successes and lessons learned in the first Brick + Mortar festival by integrating the marketing of the festival with other cutting edge area venues and events and linking businesses that serve cultural tourists with the festival's audience, and branding the festival as capturing the spirit of an emerging Greenfield. The target audience includes the local Western Massachusetts region, as well as a broader radius that includes Boston, Hartford, and New York.
Confluence: A Juried Fine Art Show, Turners Falls Hub
Confluence is a juried fine art exhibition that will provide a unique opportunity for Franklin County artists to present and sell their art to members of the community and experts in the field of contemporary art who might not otherwise become aware of the high caliber of local artists' work. The proposed FACP activity is to utilize the hub marketing model to promote Confluence throughout the entire county. FACP, RiverCulture and fine artist Claudine Mussuto are working together to support this vision.
The project addresses the lack of exhibition venues for Franklin County artists and is a potential catalyst for the exposure of high caliber Franklin County artists. Confluence seeks to attract nationally recognized jurors from various fields to help demonstrate the quality of work that Franklin County artists are creating. The show will hang in the Hallmark Gallery in Turners Falls.
By working with existing events in the region to foster collaborative excitement, Confluence will market the juried show, the call for artists, and thematic links to Confluence, as a new signature event that will help attract audiences from across the region and expose tourists, art collectors and others to the wealth of talent hidden in Franklin County's hills and valleys.
The Rural Initiative, Double Edge Theater, Shelburne Falls Hub
With FACP assistance, Double Edge Theater will develop ways to market the interconnectivity of the creative economy of Franklin County with agriculture and ecotourism by exposing and connecting audiences to products and services for direct purchase or promotion, and create a template for implementation that other regional cultural venues can emulate.
The initiative will unify various sectors of the regional tourism industry, through cross-promotional materials and activities, to diversify and deepen visitors' experience of this rural area. The project will highlight the unique symbiotic relationship of theatre, art, local culture, eco/agro tourism with the following outcomes:
1. Developing an Arts and Culture trail of regional locales and activities, with itineraries designed for an afternoon, a day, or several days. These cultural trails will be available at local arts, eco-tourism, agro-tourism, hospitality, farming, and crafts venues as well as the local chamber of commerce. Gift bags and baskets promoting the cultural trail will be created that feature goods from area agro- and arts-business, such as local produce, tickets to theatre, homemade artisan foods.
2. Increase awareness of the full scope of what the rural area of West County and the Hill Towns offers to outsiders. Implement the FACP marketing strategy that combines sector target audiences, cross-marketing initiatives, and outreach to potential new visitors.
3. Double Edge will implement the cultural trails promotion on the FACP website, connecting customized itineraries and special packages for the region.
Pioneer Pathways, North Quabbin Woods, Orange Hub
The North Quabbin Woods Visitor Center and Local Artisan Gift Shop features the work of 45 artisans, primarily from the North Quabbin. The core of the efforts is for economic revitalization of the North Quabbin region in industries that complement more than 100,000 acres of conservation land, primarily through the promotion of eco-tourism, local artisans, and arts and culture.
The proposed FACP project for 2010 includes support for extending North Quabbin Woods' (NQW) visibility by creating pathways to link countywide promotional materials with NQW, and by providing NQW with updated arts-based, theme/niche based itineraries (green tourism, GLBT, agro-tourism, open studio days, etc.) that are connected to related activities throughout greater Franklin County. Print materials promoting arts-related activities throughout the region will be featured in the North Quabbin Woods' visitor information area and transparent links between FACP and NQW web resources will be utilized.
Franklin County is a culturally rich region where artists and artisans contribute to a diverse range of economic activity that is difficult to measure using the standard economic metrics and is challenging to address through a dependence on external development efforts. The aim of this project is to highlight and support the diverse economic activity of the artists and artisans in the region. Making visible the rich economic activities already in practice can help the region foster a positive economic identity—shifting away from the portrayals of a region in need—and provide an opportunity to direct funding towards community centered economic practices. Through the use of participatory action research (PAR) with a group of artists and cultural ambassadors, we will create a community partnership of people who: are taught how to recognize various forms of economic activity, are given tools and resources to record and document these activities, and are provided with consultation to identify practices and endeavors that can strengthen those activities. With the Fostering Art and Culture Project (FACP) we will create a venue through which this data can be shared and disseminated across Franklin County and beyond.
Information sessions for artists and artisans will be held in late August and researchers will be recruited and trained in September. The research project is coordinated by Leo Hwang-Carlos, Associate Dean of Humanities at Greenfield Community College and sociologist Abby Templer. They are drawing on the research of Julie Graham who did similar research ten years ago in the broader Pioneer Valley.