While compiling data on visitors to the Entrepreneurship Center at Washtenaw Community College, director Kristin Gapske noticed a heavy presence of students and community members involved in creative pursuits. Always looking to best serve her clientele, Gapske started contemplating programs for artists, photographers, writers, graphic designers, digital videographers and other creative entrepreneurs.
That task was made easier when the Entrepreneurship Center received a faculty grant from the WCC Foundation that will allow it to create a series of programs intended specifically for creatives looking to build a sustainable business around their art. Along with directly helping WCC students, the WCC Foundation also regularly makes annual grants to faculty and staff to support activities that directly benefit the experiences of WCC students. Recipients are selected by a committee of WCC Foundation board members, community volunteers and a member of the WCC Board of Trustees.
“We had one artist-focused workshop a year ago in Ypsilanti and more than 40 people came, so I know there is a real desire out there for artists and other creatives to learn about turning their passion into a business,” Gapske said. “I’m so thankful for this funding from the WCC Foundation because it’s going to create some awesome opportunities for the arts community and some exceptional add-on educational resources for WCC students taking arts classes.”
Funds from the grant will be used to provide the following opportunities:
- The creation of a six-part “The Business of Being an Artist” speaker series, which will begin in September.
- Two additional sessions in the Entrepreneurship Center’s successful full-day “Boot Camp” workshop series. A “Business of Writing” camp is planned for November and a “Business of Music” camp in March 2018.
- Consultation time with Sandra Xenakis, owner of Art Meets Business, a local business coach for creative entrepreneurs.
The Entrepreneurship Center at WCC is a meeting place and resource hub that strives to connect the community to resources and professional assistance. In addition to many free workshops, the center has an open co-working space and offers one-on-one appointments to help current or future entrepreneurs.
Free Coffee Wednesdays, which run from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. each Wednesday during the school year, is an ideal time to learn more about the center and network with others interested in entrepreneurship.