USDA Funds regional Project Through Black Creek Arts Council of Darlington County
Over the last year, Black Creek Arts Council has spearheaded a regional project to enhance the business skills of artists and develop a mechanism for centralized promotion of handmade products. On November 22nd, Black Creek Arts Council will officially launch peedeeart.com. This dynamic website will allow the region's artists and artisans to ahve an online avenue for sales, as well as serve as a resource for the development of business skills..
The project was funded by the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) and built off of research originating from a Cultural Visions Grant from the South Carolina Arts Commission..
"USDA's guidance in implementing our ideas was crucial," said Bruce Douglas of Black Creek Arts Council (BCAC). "I was also very fortunate to work with three great companies during the course of the project.".
Hartsville-based Fingerprint Design Studio, Cottle & Associates of Irmo, and Ellison Media of Columbia teamed with Douglas and BCAC to carry out the project.
Peedeeart.com provides the artisans with the opportunity to sell their work online. The site also serves three regional groups: The Artisans of the South Carolina Cotton Trail, The Artisans of the South Carolina Tobacco Trail, and the Pee Dee Summit. The website is also the home for The Business of Art, a curriculum compiled to assist artists in skill development in the areas of marketing, pricing, customer service, e-commerce and legal issues.
Douglas also noted that the completion and launch of the website is merely the end of the phase of the overall master plan for peedeeart.com. "From here, we'll push to have a greater impact in traditional tourism channels, with the website serving as a marketing tool. We'll also constantly update the Business of Art to keep the changes in best practice standards and contemporary research."
Douglas also pointed out that this is not a Field of Dreams porject, where you build it and they will come. "Now we've got to promote the site to convert our efforts to sales and skill-develpoment," he said.
"Leadership throughout the region is crucial for sustainability for this project. Fortunately, we have those leaders," Douglas said. He looks to Barbara Streeter (Pop's Glass in Conway), Beth Wicker (Three Cats & a Dog Studio in Cheraw), and Jordan Heydt (Black Creek Arts Council of Darlington County) to be the region's leaders in developing, promoting, and maintaining this project for artists and artisans in the Pee Dee.
Peedeeart.com and its business training components were maid possible by the Rural Business Enterprise Grant Program offered by the United States Department of Argiculture.
The mission of Black Creek Arts Council is to promote adn foster the Arts in Darlington County. BCAC's offices are housed in a state of the arts 10,000 square foot facility at 116 West College Avenue in Hartsville. BCAC offers a variety of programs including art classes of all styles, after school activites, pre-school aged programs, private music lessons, and various types of gallery exhibits. BCAC also offers assistance with arts management, funding, education, and program coordination to the arts and cultural organizations in Darlington County,