How to Make a FB Page in Two Minutes

Daily Art Muse has done a perfect little slide show to tell you EXACTLY how to create a fan page on Facebook. You’ll know in two minutes the clicks to navigate to make the page. And if you are in business, you need a Facebook fan page. Mine is at GeorgiaMadeGeorgiaGrown. We also have a Southeastern Festivals fan page at E2000. We try to update them daily.

If you’re new to Facebook, it is free to join. Most makers have both a profile and a page. The profile is about one’s personal life. And buyers and collectors love, love, love reading about what you are doing and who your friends are!

The page is your business life. Lately, at the GeorgiaMadeGeorgiaGrown page, I’ve talked about Peter Muzyka‘s show opening at The Point of Art Gallery in Union Point; the National Grits Festival in Warwick; and visiting Gallery 209 in Brunswick.

I love Facebook. It’s a great way to keep up with what’s happening and to see what your friends are learning about.

ACE Makes News in the AJC!

ACE – Appalachian Community Enterprises, Inc – makes small loans (up to $35,000) to micro-enterprises. Since its founding in 1998, it has provided over $4 million in financing to small businesses. Today, ACE made news in the Atlanta Journal Constitution!

What’s ACE mean to you? If you are determined to succeed in your creative endeavor, whether you are a photographer or an eatery or have a “green” business idea, ACE may be able to loan you what it takes to open the doors. It “provides the financing, support, and education you need to reach your business and financial goals.”

The ACE website has enough information for you to decide if this is a viable option for your business.

Facebook’s Web Searching Portal is #1!

New figures show more people use Facebook as the portal to search the web than other search engines! I thought about that. Sure enough, yesterday when I was looking for Christmas House or Deborah Karwisch, I searched through Facebook.

Are you on Facebook? Do you pay attention to what your friends and colleagues are posting – articles, images, blurbs about where they ate last night – and want to know more? Are your friends and colleagues driving your ideas and thoughts about where to go/what to do? Me, too.

Mableton’s Christmas House is a HIT with Buyers!

I’ve been focusing on the economic impact of Georgia’s creative entrepreneurs and events, so asked Deborah Karwisch, the chairman of Mableton’s Christmas House, to give me some data about the 25th anniversary event last December. When she emailed it over, I was struck by the testimonials she included, written by buyers and by the volunteers. Read them. They are wonderful.

Buyer #1
I
‘ve been buying and giving handmade gifts from the Christmas House for at least 10 years. Why? Two reasons: Handmade gifts are the most unique gifts that I can find; and it supports the arts and the artists who make them.

This year I gave my Mom the prayer shawl. She has everything at this point but she didn’t have that. The shawl came with a touching letter from the artist telling the recipient how she had prayed for her the entire time she was making the shawl. It was a beautiful touching gift that you’ll never find at the Mall.

Buyer #2
Every year, The Christmas House at The Mable House has these wonderfully knitted fingerless gloves. I love that they come in all different sizes and colors for both men and women, boys and girls. I can count on The Christmas House every year in having this charming, handmade item. Every year I buy some for my cousin, but this year I bought some for my son and myself, too!

Buyer #3
I think giving handcrafted gifts speaks more from the heart than store purchased. You see something in a craft that makes you think of that particular person you are buying for.

Buyer #4
My family loves receiving gifts made by local artists. Our community is important to us and showing off a wonderful gift that’s also handmade…life doesn’t get any better than that!

Buyer #5
I loved being able to give a handmade gift during the holidays because it is one of a kind. Walking into the mall or Kohls to buy a gift no matter how nice the gift maybe seems practical and ordinary compared to the unique quality of a handmade gift.

Buyer #6
I have given several handmade items over the years that I purchased at the Christmas House. No matter how large or small the items, the recipients of the gifts are so pleased to get a one-of-kind handmade item picked just for them.

Many times a handmade item might reflect a personality trait of the person receiving the gift; and in that case, it makes the gift even more special. This past Christmas I was lucky enough to receive an item purchased just for me, by my husband. The sales staff helped him pick it out knowing that I had admired a beautiful hand woven shawl made by Jennifer LeCroy, a local weaver and vendor at the Christmas House. I have enjoyed wearing it several times.

Buyer #7
I love handmade items especially if given to me by someone who cares and loves me. For many years I have wanted and appreciated handmade items more than store bought. To know that someone would take the time to create something from nothing, putting time and effort into it and then to give it away or put it up for sale says a lot about them. Many people do not use their God given talents; therefore they go to waste. I am impressed by those who “use it” so as not to “lose it”. I do think I am in the minority. For the most part, I think people are too materialistic to appreciate the type of talent that comes from the hands.

Volunteer #1
For crafters and artists, being a volunteer allows the opportunity to interact with other creative folks and keeps us in the arts community even though we are not actually exhibiting. And of course, you can’t forget the camaraderie…you all are great to work with and the day goes by quickly. I come away full of inspiration for new projects!

Volunteer #2
For me personally, I love the crafting environment. Meeting fellow crafters and talking shop, and watching the Christmas House come together to become more and more successful each year. I love seeing what talents people have and hear what made them want to make what they do.

Volunteer #3
Organizing and implementing a successful show is reward enough, but I always want to make it better the next year. Working the show itself is a real treat. Getting to spend time with the crafters and seeing customers come back year after year is certainly gratifying.

I’ll get to the economic data and community impact soon. I couldn’t wait to share these testimonials with you.

Georgia Wine Highway Weekend – March 19-21

I just noticed that the Winegrowers Association of Georgia’s fifth annual Wine Highway Weekend begins on FRIDAY, March 19! Reserve one, two or all three days of the weekend to explore North Georgia’s nine  winery/vineyard Members – Blackstock Vineyard & Winery; Crane Creek Vineyards; Frogtown Cellars; Habersham Vineyards & Winery; Persimmon Creek Vineyards; Sharp Mountain Vineyards; Tiger Mountain Vineyards; Wolf Mountain Vineyards; and Yonah Mountain Vineyards – as well as many of the 40 Affiliate Members’ places of business.

Today, mark your calendar, then go to www.georgiawine.com and download maps and information about what will be happening and where. Make a reservation for a bed & breakfast or cabin along the way, then start acquainting yourself with the Winery/Vineyards Members and Associate Members and plot your driving route.

When the weekend finally gets here, start at whichever winery you’d like. Buy a wineglass passport, then “Taste A Perfect Day in Georgia!” Bill Ronay and I have participated twice, and have been happily edu-tained by master wine growers. Do not miss the special presentations many of the growers offer.

For background information from a bona fide wine expert, read some articles by Jane Garvey. A great place to start on the Wine Weekend bit of homework is her article, Sante, y’all! from Georgia Magazine, March 2009.

Last year, the Winegrowers Association of Georgia hosted a December wine weekend, too. I’ll be posting information about that one, if it is scheduled for 2010.

California Arts Advocates

I’ve been studying the California Arts Advocates’ website. I was surprised to see that since a 97% budget cut to the California Arts Council in 2003, the state has ranked 50th in the nation in the public investment for the arts, spending just three cents per capita from the state’s General Fund. Georgia’s fiscal year 2009 budget allotted 40 cents per capita, ranking 47th. Hawaii ranks first in the US, with a per capita investment of $5.63.

If you remember from my last blog post, CAA hosted a “Vision Retreat”  to discuss how to revitalize public interest and government support for the arts. On Fact Sheet #2 of their Legislation AB700: the Creative Industries & Community Economic Revitalization Act of 2010, you’ll read that “California’s last place status in state arts investment limits California’s ability to” among other things, “Leverage  the arts to attract more tourists”, “Utilize the arts to spur the economies of local communities – from rural towns to major metropolitan areas”, and “Renew and revitalize local downtown developments as well as neglected neighborhoods”. AB700 is a source of funding for the California Arts Council to be able to partner with economic developers and tourism to move toward solving real world needs.

CAA’s recent “Vision Retreat” and AB700 are action steps to incorporate art as a working partner in “economic stimulus conversation”. Don’t we need to consider this in Georgia? Isn’t this worth dialogue?

Some Californians are Thinking like Lynette Jennings

I just read a blog post by Paul Hodgins about a “Vision Retreat” in Sacramento convened by California Arts Advocates, a group that represents the interests of the arts and lobbies state lawmakers on matters affecting culture. The purpose was to discuss  how to revitalize public interest and government support for the arts.

In 2008, at the CODA (Craft Organization Development Association – www.codacraft.org) conference in Little Rock, Lynette Jennings gave a presentation that resonated with me. In it, she said that society and art are separated by a wall; and that in order for art to be more widely enjoyed, ART would have to tear down that wall and become a part of society, not the other way around. I thought that was profound then. Now, three deep cuts into the Georgia Council for the Arts’ budget later, it was a wake-up call that, to my knowledge, hasn’t been much discussed in arts circles.

I don’ t have to go all the way to California to hear someone relate to me the non-value to his life some modern art exhibition of paint splattered drop cloth is. And how that taxpayer isn’t eager to fund the drop cloth exhibition with his tax dollars. We have, unfortunately, tuned out art’s ability to empower and enthrall. Hearing a church choir sing, watching a chef plate up a meal, stepping into an elegant home, are all directly enhanced by art.

In Hodgins’ blog post, he quotes Stephanie Geter, a cultural affairs commissioner for the City of Oakland CA… “In order for culture to be meaningful, it has to connect with the society that it lives in. If people don’t like the arts as they’re being delivered, then they deserve to go away.”

Hodgins continues, “The arts have somehow marooned themselves on an island surrounded by perceptions of elitism, classism and intellectual snobbery… The arts community has to find a way off of that island. And demonstrating to people that art and life constantly commingle is a good start.”