OVERVIEW

The Maine Crafts Association’s new mentorship program serves to support craft artists’ business growth by providing guidance, or direction in the form of advice and/or professional experiences. The program is designed to support craft artists at various career points (mentees) by connecting them with experienced peers (mentors) with expertise in the area of growth sought by the mentee. Through thoughtful and constructive feedback, the goal is for the mentor to have a positive influence on the professional growth of a mentee.
[scroll down to view current mentors]

MENTORSHIP TOPICS

  • Promoting and marketing a craft business / studio practice
  • Pricing your work
  • Wholesale overview: shows, accounts, online
  • Professional development resources
  • Where to source materials (studio, graphics, booth display, ect)
  • Craft show booth design
  • Craft show general advice
  • Galleries & Retail Shop overview, including consignment vs wholesale
  • Preparing for a jury (fine craft show, gallery, exhibition, etc)
  • Help starting a craft business
  • + Other topics as determined by mentee

MENTORS: HOW TO GET INVOLVED:

Mentors are current MCA Guild Level or Professional Level members. Mentors fill out the short form below, provide images, links and select which areas of expertise/mentorship topics they are able to provide. Mentor profiles are added below and mentors are provided with Pollinator materials to display in their booth at Shop Maine Craft (or other) craft shows – inviting mentees to discuss the program and make arrangements for further contact.

MENTEES: HOW TO GET INVOLVED

There is no MCA membership requirement to participate; any Maine-based craft artist seeking mentorship may review the Pollinator mentor profiles and directly contact a mentor of their choosing. Mentees may contact more than one mentor as needed. Mentees may also connect with mentors at Shop Maine Craft fine craft shows – mentors will display the Pollinator logo in their booths to invite mentees to talk to them about the program and arrange for the mentee to contact them after the show.

BIPOC & LGBTQ+ MENTORS + MENTEES

Mentorship comes in many forms and successful exchanges of expertise range from helpful tips to life-changing relationships. It is a privilege to have a mentor, and often the value and outcomes of mentorship are even stronger when the mentor and mentee share characteristics unrelated to the nature of the mentorship; from gender to race to sexual orientation and other defining qualities. Maine Crafts Association would like to foster these connections and encourages craft artists identifying as BIPOC, LGBTQ+ and other identifiers to join the program as mentors and to promote and share their demographics in their profile listing in an effort to nurture more mentorships for craft artists identifying with marginalized communities.

Meet the Pollinators:

Mentorship Arrangement & Time Commitment

While this program is still in its early stages, we imagine and encourage the mentorship to start with a one-hour phone call (although, this could also be accomplished over email or by meeting in person). During the initial meeting the mentee and mentor will discuss the mentee’s goals and needs for support, and, perhaps, jump right into the mentor sharing information and resources. The pair will discuss how to proceed and ensure both parties have the same expectations.

Example arrangements or outcomes following the initial meeting:

  • The phone call covered everything needed in the short term and no further mentorship is needed
  • Commit to a number of meetings over the next few months, set the dates.
  • Mentee is encouraged to email mentor anytime with questions and mentor commits to responding within a week
  • Mentor will follow-up with resources as discussed (example: links to good shows, links to source booth displays, booth packing list, contacts at xyz org, etc)
  • Commit to meet at a craft show, gallery, kiln opening, other location or event to support mentee goals
  • Change of course! Pair will meet again to discuss a craft apprenticeship – mentee goals are studio-based and CAP is of interest to both parties
  • Mentor may connect mentee with different mentor for a different perspective or to help provide expertise not held by the first mentor

FOLLOW-UP

To track, understand and improve the Pollinator program MCA requests that mentors and mentees fill out a short form after the first meeting.

One last note: MENTORSHIP verses APPRENTICESHIP

The mentorship differs from apprenticeship models (including the MCA’s Craft Apprentice Program) in several ways. It is intended to be a less formal arrangement in structure and time commitment. The arrangement will not be limited to participants working in the same craft medium, though that may be more applicable and beneficial. The arrangement also differs as it is not intended to strengthen the mentees craft skills but instead helps the mentee better understand the craft business and prepare for new business ventures such as craft shows, galleries, marketing or other strategies. Additionally, the Pollinator mentorship does not have a defined length or structure.

If a mentorship leads to an interest in working together in the studio and application to the Craft Apprentice Program, that outcome is welcome, but not a specific goal of this mentorship program.