WAXHAW – A new Waxhaw Entrepreneurs program is calling on artists to bring their creativity to the new Created in the Carolinas Co-Op Incubator.
The co-op, which started this month and will celebrate its inception at a gallery at 216 W. North Main St. on Friday, Aug. 1, is under the nonprofit Waxhaw Entrepreneurs program of the Waxhaw Business Association. The group seeks to help people start small businesses, according to Karen Johnson, director of the Waxhaw Entrepreneurs Small Business Incubator, with the co-op focused on people who are interested in arts and crafts but don’t have the start-up cash for a new business.
“(The artists) wanted to make their money with arts and crafts,” Johnson said about an industry she described as a tough one to make a living through. The co-op program has been in the works since February to raise money for the artists and “get them gelling,” she added.
The co-op rented the gallery space where Friday’s event will take place so artists can “run (the space) themselves (and) work the space themselves,” Johnson said. Co-op artists receive 100 percent of the profits from the items they sell provided they pay a monthly fee, which is currently $50 until December. Johnson isn’t sure if the monthly fee will increase after December because that’s when the lease on the space is up.
“The goal is to keep the cost low,” she said, adding she’d like to see the monthly fee less than $50.
There are currently 11 artists in the co-op who share hours and a gallery director with more than 20 years of experience who places the artists’ work, intertwining the pieces instead of grouping them together by artist. Johnson believes it’s a unique concept that can benefit all artists involved.
Artists wishing to join Created in the Carolinas must have their work reviewed by the Artisan Guidelines Committee before becoming a member. The work must be at least 85 percent “totally hand made and nothing from another country,” Johnson said. The item must be at least 85 percent altered from the original piece if an artist uses manufactured items in the work.
Besides showing their work, artists also will have the opportunity to teach classes if they want. “We want (Created in the Carolinas) to be the place to come if you come to Waxhaw to look for arts and crafts or to take classes,” Johnson said.
The grand opening will include an art show and sale and will run through Aug. 10, a Sunday. Admission to the event is free and open to the public. Artists do not have to be present for their items to be sold.
The gallery is open Tuesday to Thursday, 11 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.; Friday, 11 a.m. to 7 p.m.; Saturday, 11 a.m. to 5 p.m.; and Sunday 1 to 5 p.m. Times are subject to change. Find more information at www.createdinthecarolinas.com.