If you’re a fan of local craft, a visit to the Craft Council of Newfoundland & Labrador is a must when you’re in St. John’s. For almost five decades now, the organization has been a voice for artisans all across the province. In addition to helping support craftspeople’s careers by providing them a space to exhibit and sell their work, they provide various forms of funding for members’ education and professional development – helping to grow and strengthen the creative sector. Their clay studio is also a popular spot for those who want to try their hand at pottery or build their skills in a supportive and creative setting. This past summer, the Craft Council moved into a larger and accessible new space at 275 Duckworth Street – allowing even more visitors to come by and experience the joy of local handcrafted art.
The Craft Council is one of 10 not-for-profit arts groups that were chosen to participate in Business & Arts NL’s ArtSupportNL program, to receive fundraising development training and support. The program kicked off with a five-day intensive training session at Rocket Bakery and will wrap up in several months time. We recently chatted with Lisa Downey, Administrative Officer at the Craft Council of Newfoundland & Labrador, about how the lessons learned will help going forward.
Business & Arts NL: Why, initially, was the Craft Council interested in participating in the ArtSupport NL program?
Lisa Downey: The Craft Council of Newfoundland & Labrador saw the value in participating with a group of arts organizations in fund development training. Having the support and camaraderie of our peers as we navigated through this intensive training helped us understand our organizations’ shared challenges with fund raising.
Business & Arts NL: What’s one of the most valuable lessons you’ve learned thus far over the course of the program?
LD: Learning how our collective attitudes towards fund development was holding us back from real growth.
Business & Arts NL: Do you have any specific events coming up in which you’ll be able to implement some of the lessons learned? How will the program help you meet your overall goals?
LD: The Craft Council of NL will be moving its Clay Studio to a new location on Water Street. Also, our shop is planning to open another level in its current location to sell pantry goods. Both of these events can be leveraged to incorporate the lessons learned in the Business & Arts NL program.
Business & Arts NL: Are there any important takeaways from this program that you’d like to share with other arts organizations?
LD: If you can participate in a Business & Arts NL program with a group of your peers, do it! You’ll learn so much about your own organization and that you’re not alone out there. We share the same challenges and opportunities.