Marketplace News

March 2021 - Grant Funding for Local Non-Profit

by Sylvia Trotter

Chautauqua Craftsmen & Artisans of the Black Hills, LLC (CCABH) is a non-profit 501c3 center established to promote the arts by providing public education, professional development, and an artisan's marketplace. The marketplace allows visitors to view, share and purchase work by local craftsmen and artisans. The organization has been a part of the Hot Springs, SD tapestry of businesses for the past 5 years. You may know it as Chautauqua Artisans Market, which is one arm of the organization.

Chautauqua’s funding primarily revolves around volunteer work, donations, class participation, and sales of art work. All the revenue streams require face-to-face interaction with the public. When Covid-19 became a concern, these activities came to a halt. From March 21, 2020 through May 21, 2020 the marketplace was closed as none of the artist volunteers were able to work and classes canceled to reduce potential spread of the virus among the public. Even after the marketplace reopened in May and classes restarted, the pace of business continued to suffer. And that is where Ina Winter, then board member of CCABH, stepped in.

Ina completed the application process for a grant through Arts Midwest. The grant is a part of the United States Regional Arts Resilience Fund. The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation and an anonymous donor have provided more than three million dollars in grant money to help preserve under-resourced art and culture organizations during this financially challenging time. Through Ina’s efforts, CCABH secured $10,000 in grant money that began in December 2020.

With these grant funds, CCABH has been able to push beyond the slow-down and dream into the future. They have hired Jennifer Robistow as a part time manager. With her help, Chautauqua Artisans Market has been able to stay open more hours as she is relieving the strain caused by continued reduction in artist volunteer hours. Through Jennifer’s behind-the-scenes work, assisted greatly by founding board member Rhonda Kocourek, the market is also moving toward providing online sales. The details required to make this happen are numerous but will open exciting new opportunities for the market.

The next time you are in Chautauqua Artisans Market you will also notice a change in the sales transaction. Inventory has been uploaded to a point-of-sale system and transactions are now electronic rather than hand-written receipts. While the transition period can have some bumps, the long-term result will be a shorter wait for customers in the checkout line and better control of inventory.

Chautauqua Craftsmen & Artisans of the Black Hills continue to be grateful for the Arts Midwest grant funding and are energized for the future. We welcome you back to the marketplace and hope you will join us for one of our upcoming classes or events. We believe all our lives find deeper meaning when art is valued.