The Maine Crafts Association offers a variety of workshops and programs designed to enhance appreciation of fine crafts, to build technical skills and to build business development skills.
- Haystack Workshop Weekend 2013 HAYSTACK BROCHURE One of the Maine Crafts Association’s best loved educational programs. Workshop participants spend the third weekend in May at the Haystack Mountain School of Crafts and immerse themselves in technique workshops, peer networking and open studio time.
- Your Craft, Your Business Workshops In collaboration with Maine College of Art, MCA developed and hosted Your Craft, Your Business, a conference designed to help Maine artists build their business skills in order to more effectively participate in Maine’s creative economy. Sixty-five craft artists attended the initial conference. MCA continues the educational initiative with periodic workshops that address entrepreneurship and business issues.
- Calendar Series Workshops Unique intensive, full day techniques workshops held in the studios of master craft artists. This unique program features small, intimate class sizes, one-to-one attention and inspirational studio locations.
- Center for Maine Craft Located in the new West Gardiner Turnpike Authority Travel Plaza, the Center offers visitors important information about craft artists and businesses in Maine and helps artist businesses increase profits and recognition, as well as build more year-round retail opportunities.
- Web The MCA website focuses on organizational programs and activities as well as offering individual member artist pages with images of their craft work, descriptions, and links to their own websites. Enhancing the shopping and educational experience of visiting the Center for Maine Craft, an additional Craft Center website will conduct complete e-commerce activities.
- Retail & Wholesale Sales Shows The MCA has offered Maine craft artists participation in, and benefit from, the wholesale market, New England Product Trade show since 2009. This shared booth experience includes tradeshow training with MCA staff and serves as a stepping stone to help artists enter the wholesale tradeshow marketplace without the prohibitive costs and risks of participating on their own. The majority of participants go on to exhibit on their own in the following years, but a success is also those who determine that the NEPTS market is not a good match, but are able to learn that without great financial disruption to their lives and businesses. The MCA has collaborated with the Society of Arts and Crafts in Boston to offer Maine Craft artists a similar experience and opportunity at Craft Boston 2013, a contemporary craft retail show.
- Outdoor Craft Markets The Center for Maine Craft hosted artists for demonstrations and sales at the West Gardiner Travel Plaza each summer 2009 – 2011. In 2011 the program expanded, the MCA organized “test” outdoor craft markets for 6-10 exhibitors at the Kennebunk Turnpike Travel Plazas. The positive feedback from artists spurred the MCA to increase the scope of the program in 2012: the markets took place each Sunday and include live music.
- Exhibitions MCA’s exhibitions promote public awareness of the fine craft produced by Maine’s makers. The Inspired Hand exhibition series is an ongoing collaboration with the Atrium Gallery of the University of Southern Maine’s Lewiston-Auburn College. In January 2012, The Inspired Hand V showed the work of 35 member artists, including our seven Master Craft Artists selected to date. Additionally, the Center for Maine Craft mounts nine exhibitions per year, promoting MCA artist work, other organizations’ programming and work, or like-missioned Maine non-profits.
- Co-op Advertising Several co-op advertising opportunities are offered to MCA members each year. In 2011 artists paid to be included in group ads in DownEast (three full pages in two issues), The Maine Studio and Gallery Guide (four full pates) and Maine Weddings (one full page). The MCA negotiates low rates and passes the savings onto our members.
- The Regional Coordinators program engages volunteer artists in each region of the state to serve MCA members by helping them network with each other and involve them in the organization’s activities. The coordinators create events in their communities to educate engage craft artists in their region, and grow their income. Recently, the Greater Portland coordinator worked with a local event planner to host an MCA booth at the Cabot Cheese Year of the Collaborative Community Celebration. MCA members participated in demonstrations, sales and networking.