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NWTC helps artists become entrepreneurs

By Donna Schuld

GREEN BAY – Northeast Wisconsin Technical College’s (NWTC) Artisan and Business Center marks its 10th anniversary this year, and the busy workshop on Cedar Street in Green Bay is helping artists become more comfortable with the business side of art.

The center’s Residency Artist Program began in 2020 and guides a small number of artists through classes that will shape them into entrepreneurs.

Aaron Reimers, Appleton, center artistic design project coordinator, said the program is open to anyone.

“It’s really geared toward those artists that want to take the next step and actually want to make this a career,” Reimers said. “We want to be that resource that helps them be successful. We help you grow in your art and along with it we’re teaching you different business-type things, the entrepreneurial side of it. Throughout the year you get access to the school outside of normal business hours. You get to work more in your field but also experience other types of mediums.”

Support also comes in the form of promotion through popular events like Artstreet, and through social media.

The next application process will run from July through August.

Residents will be announced in September.

Every third Tuesday of the month, the Artisan and Business Center offers the Artist Journey Series.

“We bring in guest speakers to help them on the business side of things, along with things that aren’t that exciting but definitely things that artists need to know,” said Reimers. “In December we brought in the IRS. Actually, we’ve done that one twice now, it was very well attended.”

Build Your Art Business is another new series starting in May, with Kate Guth of KLG Designs.

“It is specifically designed to help you build your brand and be able to utilize social media, how to get better online sales, and get artists to network better,” said Reimers. “You don’t have to be an artist to take it but it is geared toward artists.”

And many artists are finding the classes offered at NWTC’s Artisan and Business Center to be a helpful way to fine-tune their creative interests.

“We’re actually very excited about our summer lineup; this will be the most jam-packed summer programming we have ever done,” he said. “We have seven weeks of classes that just went up and you can register for. We have stuff in every area. Our ceramics classes are continually filling up, with waitlists to them.”

Reimers said some of the popularity of the classes may stem from a general need for release.

“People are really looking to get out this summer after being cooped up for the past year,” he said. “A lot of people are using it to de-stress and tune out all of the negative stuff right now.”

Reimers smiles when he describes the typical reaction of a student finishing his or her first project.

He said they “stand back and look and do a ‘Wow, I made that!’ It’s one of the things we hear quite a bit.”

A tour of the NWTC Artisan and Business Center reveals an environment organized for creativity and craftsmanship.

Room after room is equipped with the tools needed to turn out works in wood, metal, fiber, glass, ceramics or acrylic paints.

Reimers said most of the class fees include the materials needed for the work, and classes are being kept down to eight people for safety concerns.
“We’re always evolving, always coming up with new classes,” he said.

For those who would rather admire art than roll up their own sleeves, some of the work from Artisan and Business Center students and staff can be viewed in person at the Neville Public Museum in an exhibit entitled, “Milestones.”

The exhibit will be on display through May 23.

For more information or for class registration, CLICK HERE.

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