It’s been almost a year and a half since Grace, Megan and I started exchanging emails to plan the inaugural Midwest Craft Con. Back then, none of us knew if any of the crazy ideas we had would come to fruition but we knew one thing: We all care about our respective crafty communities and want to help them learn, connect them to each other and party with them!
So we schemed and we hustled and after a lot of Google Hangouts, a few road trips and the most notifications you’ve ever seen in a single group text, we pulled it off. Along the way, we asked our ticket-holders what they wanted to learn at the Con via a secret Facebook group to influence our programming. We even crowdsourced a Spotify playlist to play between breakout times, which turned out AMAZING, and I still listen to it when I’m trying to get stuff done around my house. We sent out surveys and are using that feedback to make Midwest Craft Con even better next year.
Basically, Midwest Craft Con is all about serving our crafty community. We want our ticket-holders to own it and make their experience as meaningful to them as possible. Which is why we are excited to announce that as of July 20, 2016, Midwest Craft Con is no longer the sole property of Megan, Grace and Brit (and of course Olivera before us!) — it now belongs to the creative community!
Up until this point, Midwest Craft Con operated under a fiscal sponsorship agreement with Crafty Mart, a non-profit organization that I direct that hosts handmade markets in Akron. Now, Midwest Craft Con now has its own 501(c)3 federal tax-exempt status, which will help us organizers find additional revenue streams and do more to serve creatives while keeping costs down.
Here is our formal mission statement:
The Midwest Craft Con’s purpose is to provide creative, engaging, and educational opportunities for artists and entrepreneurs to help their businesses thrive. The Midwest Craft Con has the specific purpose of conducting a conference which (a) showcases regional commitment to the arts; (b) fosters discussion and education about the arts; (c) educates creative entrepreneurs on best practices to foster civic engagement; and (d) provides entrepreneurs the opportunity to collaborate with others to advance the state of the arts regionally.
(The lawyers require us to sound overly formal, but y’all know we really just want to kick it with our crafty best buds!)
And we’ve also landed our first grant! The Ohio Arts Council has awarded Midwest Craft Con an ArtSTART grant. We’re excited to start this relationship with the Ohio Arts Council since that’s where we organizers are based, but that doesn’t mean that the Con won’t eventually travel to other places in the Midwest. (Remember that whole listening to feedback thing?)
Obtaining 501(c)3 status also means that any sponsorship dollars invested in Midwest Craft Con are considered tax-deductible. If you’re interested in sponsoring the 2017 Con, please contact us!