American Craft Made / St. Paul Update
American Craft Made / St. Paul Update
AN UPDATE ABOUT THE 2023 AMERICAN CRAFT MADE / ST. PAUL MARKETPLACE
Dear friends of ACC,
I'm writing to share important news about the 2023 American Craft Made / St. Paul Marketplace.
Over the several months leading up to the artist application deadline of May 24, our staff had been preparing for what we’d hoped would be a fresh start for this marketplace. We have worked doggedly and with heart to recruit, engage with, survey, and learn from prospective exhibiting artists about their interests, concerns, past experiences, and ideas. We used the information we gained to promote the opportunity of this show thoughtfully and to a wide range of prospective artists across multiple channels. And we leaned into grassroots and community relations approaches to broaden our outreach.
Despite these Herculean efforts, the number of artist applications we received was roughly one-third what we need to produce a show that would be successful for artists and audiences, and consistent with what our constituents expect from ACC. Consequently, we will not proceed with the October 2023 ACM Made / St Paul Marketplace at RiverCentre.
Our decision followed a lot of thoughtful discussion and appreciation for what this long-standing annual program event has meant for many people. Ultimately, ACC’s staff and board leadership recognized that it’s time to sunset our past approach to St. Paul show production. This recognition stems from our experience with the most recent round of artist applications and a clear-eyed assessment of the St. Paul show's declining vitality over a longer arc. This allows ACC to redirect our time, creativity, and effort toward (1) building on the momentum of our successful 2023 American Craft Made / Baltimore Marketplace to create an even greater experience with the March 2024 Baltimore show; and (2) planning a fresh, regionally responsive Twin Cities event for spring/summer 2024 that aligns with our emerging mission, vision, and strategic direction.
I invite you to review the frequently asked questions (FAQ) immediately below my signature for more information. If you have further questions or would like to share your thoughts, please feel free to contact our dedicated staff team using the email address [email protected].
In ACC’s 80th year of championing American craft, we are deeply grateful for your steadfast partnership and support – past, present, and future.
2023 American Craft Made / St. Paul Marketplace Update Frequently Asked Questions
Why is ACC canceling the 2023 American Craft Made / St. Paul Marketplace?
The number of artists who applied to participate was roughly one-third what we need to produce a show that would be successful for our artists and audiences, and consistent with what our constituents expect from ACC. This response is consistent with artist survey data conveying hesitancy and lack of enthusiasm for the show date and venue.
Despite an intentional digital marketing campaign, extensive grassroots outreach, partnership promotion and paid marketing, artist applications did not increase. Though difficult to do, we recognize that it is time to heed what numerous indicators (including artist application numbers and feedback, trends in past attendance, and artist sales) tell us: proceeding with American Craft Made / St. Paul as we have produced it will not meet our commitment to serve craft artists well and with a high level of confidence that we can deliver what artists and other valued constituents expect from ACC.
Did you consider other options such as a different date or venue?
We considered many options, including producing our show at St. Paul RiverCentre in the spring or at a different time of year. We also researched and conducted site visits at a range of other venues and assessed their practicality for the type and size of show we have historically offered at RiverCentre. Ultimately we recognized that no matter the date, we do not have sufficient confidence in our ability to produce a vibrant, well-attended show at RiverCentre that will be a success for our participating artists going forward. We are excited about the possibilities that are now open to produce a new, regionally responsive event in another Twin Cities venue.
Is ACC planning for future shows in the Twin Cities / St. Paul or in other regions?
As we work through our strategic planning process, we are assessing all aspects of ACC programming, including American Craft Made marketplaces. What we know today is that we look forward to producing our Flagship Baltimore show in March of 2024. And, as stated below, we will use dedicated grant funding to feature emerging artists as part of a new, regionally responsive Twin Cities event in spring/summer 2024. Throughout our strategic planning discussions, we have returned to the valuable role that public events play in fostering the livelihoods of craft artists and “makers,” and cultivating a large, diverse audience for their work.
Is ACC proceeding with plans to hold the American Craft Made / Baltimore Marketplace in March of 2024?
Yes! Planning for American Craft Made / Baltimore 2024 is in full motion and we’re excited to build on the momentum of our highly successful Baltimore 2023 show. Artist applications for Baltimore 2024 will be accepted from June 12th - August 9th, 2023. Watch your email, our social channels and our site for more details, to come over the next several weeks.
For artists who submitted applications for American Craft Made / St. Paul 2023, what are the next steps and options regarding our application fees?
Artists who applied to American Craft Made / St. Paul 2023 have the following options. .
- We’d love to have you join us in Baltimore! If you are planning to apply, we’d be happy to apply your application fee for St. Paul toward the American Craft Made / Baltimore 2024 marketplace.
- We also offer timely refunds of application fees for artists who prefer this option.
ACC staff will follow up with artists by email to ask for their preference.
How does the cancellation of American Craft Made / St. Paul 2023 affect emerging artists?
ACC has received grant funding focused on emerging artists. We will use this funding to feature emerging artists in a new, regionally responsive Twin Cities event in spring/summer 2024. Please watch for details as we have them to share!
What does the cancellation of American Craft Made / St. Paul signify about ACC’s future?
ACC is in the final stages of an important strategic planning process. The factors leading to our decision to cancel American Craft Made / St. Paul 2023 are front and center in the minds of a caring team of staff, trustees, consultants, and other advisors committed to listening, learning, and enacting the changes that are needed to advance ACC’s mission and vision. We look forward to sharing the outcomes of our planning process and how ACC will build upon the past 80 years of championing craft to foster craft artists’ livelihoods and cultivate a large, diverse audience
What benefit will ACC provide to members in lieu of tickets to American Craft Made / St. Paul?
ACC is committed to providing an alternative membership benefit commensurate with complimentary tickets to American Craft Made / St. Paul. We will communicate directly with our members by October 2023 about this alternative benefit and other benefits available to them.