Uplifting DIY Festival Participants with Craft Lake City’s Artisan Scholarship and Mentor Program
Activism, Outreach and Education
Launched in 2017, Craft Lake City’s Artisan Scholarship and Mentor Program has paired DIY Festival newcomers with veteran mentors, guiding the beginners through their exciting debut. The Artisan Mentors this year are Jessica Wiarda (HONOVI), Shivani Lindmeir (The Thrill Village), Andrea Latimer (Bitters Lab), Tiera & Jorrien Peterson (FELL) and Jessica Lopour (Abella Blue). The DIY-ers awarded with this year’s scholarship are Ashley Finley (The Kindred Apothecary), Amanda Porter (Unaccustomed Beauty), Pamela El Gergi (Habibi Bazaar), Bianca Teh (Oh Hey Paper Co.) and Rubi Lopez Escobar (My Escobar).
SLUG: At its core, what is the intention of the project? What steps/initiatives/events does the program hold to enact this mission?
Craft Lake City: The Artisan Scholarship and Mentor Program is designed to provide five first-time DIY Fest exhibitors with custom-tailored business advice from an experienced local maker, as well as waived booth fees for their participation in the DIY Fest. The program includes business training, networking opportunities and one-on-one mentorship before, during and after the event. Artisan Mentors act as a bridge between Craft Lake City and Artisan Scholars, providing critical knowledge and experience that helps prepare recipients to exhibit at the DIY Fest. Some areas of mentorship include booth display, sales and lead generation, promotion and more.
After being paired, the Scholars and Mentors gathered for a two-hour training/networking meeting at the Craft Lake City office, during which the Mentors each hosted a 20-minute presentation about a topic relevant to early DIY Fest planning. Scholars are each allotted five hours of one-on-one training with their Mentors before the DIY Fest. After the Festival, Craft Lake City invites all Mentors and Scholars to gather to celebrate their successes and discuss their experiences at a group meeting. This year, we wanted to ensure that we captured a broader range of exhibitors to serve as Mentors for this program, encompassing other important DIY Fest participant categories such as Craft Food and Vintage Vendors in addition to Artisans.
SLUG: What does CLC look for in selecting the mentors for the program? What role is this person supposed to serve during the duration of the program?
Craft Lake City: We look for Mentors who have well-established local businesses and many years of experience exhibiting at the DIY Fest. We find it important to pick Mentors who have a strong track record of being part of the DIY Fest. With it being such a huge event (as well as a three-day weekend commitment for most participants), having them be matched with people who have done our market specifically feels very important. We also have relationships with these individuals and have seen their businesses grow over the course of many years. In particular, FELL’s origin story is so inextricably tied to their first experience vending at the DIY Fest—that was their make-or-break moment, and look where they are now! Every maker’s market experience is going to be different, but the fundamentals of preparing for an event certainly carry over. Most of what the Mentors are training the Scholars on are the types of considerations that will lead them to succeed in any festival or market setting.
SLUG: How do you hope to expand the Artisan Scholarship and Mentor Program into the future?
Craft Lake City: This year, our big scholarship win was getting sponsored by Project Rainbow to offer waived booth fees to an additional five DIY Fest exhibitors whose work amplifies LGBTQ+ visibility. We hope to expand the number of people we’re able to support with these types of scholarships.
Find more information at craftlakecity.com, and be sure to catch this year’s Artisan Scholarship and Mentor Program participants at this year’s Craft Lake City DIY Festival August 12–14.
Read about safe spaces for LGBTQIA+ locals:
Under The Umbrella: Salt Lake’s Queer Little Bookstore
Salt Lake Queer Climbers: Redefining What It Means to Take Up [Outdoor] Space