Wednesday, April 6, 2011

San Francisco Hearts ART - Etsy & Crafting Community Connect at MOCFA

Etsy Meet-Up for I Heart Art: San Francisco at the MOCFA
Photo courtesy of Vanessa Bertozzi - Etsy Admin

One of the best things about running an Etsy business is experiencing a great sense of community with other creative entrepreneurs. What's even better is when those same individuals can connect with other local businesses, museums and schools to strengthen and build up that very same community to whole new levels!

We had a GREAT turnout for our I Heart Art: San Francisco Meet-up at the MOCFA this past Saturday, April 2nd. Not only were SF Etsy members coming from as far as Mt. Shasta, CA, but various Etsy Admin joined us for an open discussion about what this new program could mean for our local artisans, artists, and crafters.

Etsy's I Heart Art programs vary from city to city, but the common goal for each and every project has been to enrich the creative communities in which they take place. This can often be done by connecting the different demographics within these communities while working closely with various organizations to be able to make art and craft more accessible and meaningful to the general public.

Local SF Etsy Team members brainstorming ideas for I Heart Art: San Francisco
[Left to Right: Katy Atchison, Jen Johnson, Genevieve & Shelly from Lightbox SF]
Photo by Steph Cort├ęs

This past Saturday, before the larger meet-up, a bunch of savvy small business owners from the SF Etsy Street Team came together to meet with Vanessa Bertozzi, the Director of Community & Education at Etsy, to brainstorm about what we envisioned I Heart Art to look like in San Francisco. "The idea is to dream BIG," Vanessa beamed, "And once we've got the ideas out, we can focus on what we really want." This opened up a whole series of lists: from local businesses or collectives that were already on board with the vision of a more artful SF to incredibly helpful resources & activities to assist local sellers honing their craft. A few of these included:
  • Open studio tours of various local artists in neighbourhoods all around the City
  • Workshops or panel discussions guided by SF Celebrity Sellers to help Etsy business owners with everything from effective social media marketing to fab product photography tips & tricks
  • Special showcases and events held at museums like the California Academy of Sciences and Museum of Craft & Folk Art that invite the public to participate in hands-on workshops
  • And in Portland, they've done a successful Mixer Match! - which is kind of like Speed Dating for Etsy Sellers, but more like "Speed Networking—a whirlwind night of rapid-fire elevator pitches and electrified business connections!" [Read more about I Heart Art: PDX's Mixer Match here]

Those are just a few of the many ideas so far. At the core of every I Heart Art program is collaboration with and within the local community. SF Etsy folks, and likeminded local creative types, this means you!

Tons of SF Etsy members and local business owns alike, mingling at the MOCFA
Photo courtesy of Vanessa Bertozzi - Etsy Admin

It was fantastic to see so many people come out to the meet up, and there seems to be a lot of interest in what I Heart Art: San Francisco might look like. We are very excited by all the possibilities and still in the planning and preparing stages for this project. We welcome your input, and if you have relevant resources or info to share, we'd love to hear about it! 

If you have feedback or suggestions -- for programs, workshops, events, etc -- we'd love to hear that too. Please leave us a comment or you can convo SF Team Leader & I Heart Art: San Francisco Co-Chair Steph of nerdJERK or Co-Chair Tammy of PunkRawkPurl.

Stay tuned for more details about I Heart Art: San Francisco in the coming weeks!

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