My heartfelt thanks to everyone who contributed to the success of the second annual Third Coast Fiber Arts Festival, just concluded in midtown Detroit. The McGregor Center staff did a wonderful job -- participants had beaming faces -- the incredibly gifted instructors did their very best job. The vendors, while fewer than last year, were uncommonly high quality, so shoppers were not in the least disappointed.
We made a few mistakes, and we're not yet making money. But the losses are manageable, and the mistakes could be remedied with more staff. Fortunately, one sponsoring shop has volunteered to take over the vendor part of things, which would e a huge load removed (it's a lot of work to gather in all of the vendors, keep them informed, and situate them properly in the available space). Last time, we had unhappy vendors on the garden level (they were certain they were being ignored, though we still think they were not). So this time, we put everyone on the first floor -- only one person thought she was in a disadvantageous position, and I think we persuaded her to the contrary. It's all a question of learning how to do things more effectively.
If you had a wonderful time, you could help us by saying so -- particularly in social media! In the meantime, I will be exploring (with another sponsoring shop) the possibility of transforming the festival into a 501C charitable entity. At the outset, I had in mind generating enough money to offer fiber-arts scholarships at local institutions, but you need a profit to do that, and foundations can attract corporate sponsors. That would take the financial load off of Artisan Knitworks.
If any of you have ideas as to how we can improve, etc., let me hear. I'm also considering bigger facilities, though I will not be persuaded to move the festival to a remote or outstate location. It has to be very near the center city -- maybe something like the Dearborn Inn. Too much of what happens in Michigan is far away from Detroit! And this festival, in the end, has to continue to be a celebration of the Detroit Metro area as well as the rest of the Third Coast.