A couple of time zones away from Jackson Hole–it seems light years away–in Hartford, Connecticut, Aid To Artisans (ATA) has worked for decades to create opportunities for third world artisans. ATA provides small grants that go a long way towards educating artisans and crafts people in poverty-stricken regions, while keeping cultures intact. ATA helps these creative enclaves bring their goods to the American market. Once an artisan has established a relationship with a U.S. vendor, ATA steps back, allowing infrastructure to develop and the artisan to sustain its own business initiatives.
ATA is passionate about all cultural traditions and makes sure environmentally sound practices are followed. ATA says it recognizes it can “…can only bring lasting economic growth if (it can) provide an integrated approach to product development, business skills training, market access and eco-effective processes.”
For 33 years, ATA has provided mentoring in Latin America, the Caribbean, Africa, Europe and Asia. I’m proud to say my mom, Thyrza Christel, contributed years of service to ATA, working in the grants department and travelling solo to Armenia, for a month, in her mid-sixties. The experience changed her life, and the lives of Armenian women working in crafts collectives. Working for ATA and the warm, creative craftspeople around the globe has been one of her life’s great passions.
ATA is offering a Market Readiness Program Aug. 15-19 in New York City; the course coincides with ATA’s annual presence at the New York International Gift Fair. The course offers “…the latest trend and market information offered by industry experts.” Marketing, distribution, design analysis, buyer relationships, importing and exporting, strategies, how to prepare your work for export…these topics and more will be explored.
Deadline for registration is July 15. A discount is available for early registration. To learn more, log onto www.aidtoartisans.org. Phone: 860-756-5550.