A Call to Inn Street Artists

A Call for Inn Street Artists

Photographer aims to bring more activity to downtown Newburyport

By Jim Sullivan Staff writer

NEWBURYPORT — While he may be well known for the Newburyport city scenes and landscapes he sells from his Inn Street kiosk, artist John William Brown is beginning to feel a little lonely downtown.

“There or more opportunities for art galleries in Newburyport now than there ever has been,” Brown said. “Just last year we had one of the major art galleries, the Walsingham Gallery, close down. When I was given my license in 2009, there were actually three art galleries on Inn Street alone.”

But Brown is not the type of person to sit idle when he sees a problem. After a McDonald’s kiosk found its way onto Inn Street to the consternation of many people during Yankee Homecoming in 2015, Brown decided to form the first Inn Street Artisans Revival last summer.

More than 35 artisans and nonprofit organizations such as Brown’s Spirit of Newburyport gallery, Amy’s Creations, Angela Chiklis and the Support the Pink House organization, lined Inn Street during last summer’s Yankee Homecoming, and Brown is putting out a call for even more artists, nonprofits and even chefs to join the event this year.

“This is also a call to farmers,” Brown said. “We would like to include an agricultural element to the revival this year as well. So we would like to have a farmers market mixed in with the artisans and the nonprofit and humanitarian groups. That was one element we really didn’t get off the ground last year.”

Brown also extended his invitation to a local winery and brewery to take part in a potential revival tasting event.

“Whether it is a lack of interest or support or the higher rents, whatever it is, we are losing it,” Brown said. “The revival has really given us a platform to say, ‘Hey, this works.’ We hit it out of the park (last year) and we made some good money.”

Eric Hover, a steering committee member of the Support the Pink House organization, said having a kiosk on Inn Street last summer was important to his cause, which is trying to save the legendary vacant Pink House located along Plum Island Turnpike.

“Yankee Homecoming was pivotal for us turning things around,” Hover said. “Not a lot of people knew who we were then, and because of all the people that were there, we got a lot of exposure. It gave us a lot of visibility.”

The owner of Amy’s Creations, Amy Sciuto, said the Inn Street Artisans Revival gave her an excellent opportunity to sell her wares to an appreciative audience.

“It was awesome and I did very well,” Sciuto said. “I do this full time and I travel, and to be home and do it locally is such a positive for me. I just wish Newburyport would do more of it.”

An artist working in photographic images, Brown has been selling his iconic images from Inn Street for the past nine years and spoke to the importance of city festivals to a business like his, which many visitors expect to see when they arrive.

“When you take into account the Spring Festival and the Harvest Festival, which are both organized by the Chamber of Commerce, that is really all there is,” Brown said. “That is not good enough for an artist to make a living at. Two or three festivals a year doesn’t cut it.”

Brown asked that artisans interested in joining this year’s revival visit the Yankee Homecoming website (yankeehomecoming.com/event/inn-street-artisans-revival) to apply.

Jim Sullivan covers Amesbury for The Daily News. He can be reached via email at jsullivan@newburyportnews.com or by phone at 978-961-3145. Follow him on Twitter  @ndnsully.

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A Community Call to Action

Dear Friends of the Revival,
You are receiving this email notification because you were part of the first ever Yankee Homecoming Inn Street Artisans Revival last year, have shown interest in the Revival, or have been determined that the Artisans Revival may be of some interest to you. If you would NOT like to be part of this email list, or would no longer wish to receive these updates for the 2017 event, or related interests, please reply with ‘Remove’ in the subject line.
This update is in regards to the following points of interest;
1. Vendor participation and reservations for the 2017 Revival
ALSO; “A Community Call to Action
2. Notification of an upcoming meeting regarding the creation of a local, creative, Home Studio Network.
3. Notification of an upcoming meeting regarding Newburyport Transient Vendor licenses, and creation of an Artisans Market.
I am reaching out to the Newburyport Daily news writer, Jim Sullivan, who has been instrumental in following the creation of the Inn Street Artisans Revival from the beginning (See Article Links below), and possibly doing yet another article regarding this ‘Community Call to Action“.
First, for anyone who has not received the first update of 2017, the Inn Street Artisans Revival second annual event will take place during Yankee Homecoming on July 29th – August 6th 2017. Prime Inn Street Vending booths are now available based on a first come first serve basis. Due to the huge success of last years inaugural event, the interest and success of local artisans, buoyed by the increased exposure of local buskers, musicians, non-profit and humanitarian groups, healing and culinary artisans, the Revival expects to fully reserve all of its vending spaces for this years event. So much so, that any future artisan vending for the Revival beyond 2017 may be by juried selection, or previous commitment only.
In other words, if the Revival is something you are looking forward to, as well as being part of one of the most exciting new events in the second longest running festival in America….be sure to take advantage of early registration and be part of this year’s show!
 
For those of you that have already reserved your space, thank you for booking early and I will be following up with all of you shortly.
 
If you were part of last years event and you have NOT reserved your space as of yet, please get in touch with me and let me know if you intend to take part in this years event. I will make every effort to reserve your space. However, I would like to have all deposits for reservations by April 1st, with balances paid by June 1st.
 
Even in the wake of lasts years inaugural success of the Revival, there were still many elements that I would like to see expounded on. One in particular was the participation of local farmers, culinary, and agricultural industry, whether it was due to promotion of the event or lack of interests. If you are, or know of, a local farmer, dairy, organic food, or agricultural business, please have them get in touch with me. We will try once again to create a local Farmer’s Market element to the Inn Street Revival, including local wineries and breweries to feature a ‘wine and beer’ tasting event.
 
Secondly, many local artisans have felt that Newburyport is losing it’s unique, creative, small business ‘appeal’ that has drawn both locals and tourist to this historic seaport over the years. On top of rising retail rates, small business, especially artist, are finding it increasingly difficult to maintain a brick and mortar retail outlet in downtown Newburyport. At a time in which Newburyport has been recently designated a ‘historic and cultural district’ in the State of Massachusetts, many are seeking more support, interaction, and inclusion from the city.
 
Regardless, and more than ever, many fine artists, photographers, musicians, agriculture (farmers), non-profit and humanitarian groups, healing and culinary arts, are moving forward and developing ‘Home Based Studio’s, and turning to the internet for marketing and promoting their local business.” Hence the idea for the creation of a ‘Home Studio Network“.
 
Are you a local artisan, musician, non-profit, humanitarian, farmer, healing or culinary artist with a local, or home based studio in the greater Newburyport area?
 
Fed up with the out of control rental rates in downtown Newburyport?
 
Feel that Newburyport is losing its local, creative appeal in exchange for more commercialized ‘bling ching’?
 
Looking for an alternative way to market, promote , and empower yourself and your small creative business?
 
If you are interested in being a part of a Home Studio Network, please contact me as we are now looking to set up the first ‘Home Studio Network’ meeting to consider alternative ways to promote and market our small creative business ventures. Let me know when a good time for you to meet would be. I will then contact you with a proposed time and place (possibly my new “home studio’ for the Spirit of Newburyport) for the first Greater Newburyport  ‘Home Studio Network” meeting.
 
Lastly, this dovetails into the final point of this update, and that is the issue of possible expansion of Newburyport Transient Licenses. The Inn Street Artisans Revival was created with the intention as a stepping tone, and possible ‘demonstrational model’, for a more permanent or semi-permanent, seasonal ‘Artisans Market’ in downtown Newburyport. 
 
Personally, as the one and only artist to be granted a city transient license in the city of Newburyport (Of which there are ONLY three) for the past eight years, I am appalled that during this time no movement whatsoever has been made by the city itself to either expand the available transient licences for other artisans or see any effort at all to create a downtown Artisans Market. Then again, there really has been any concerted community effort to make this happen!
 
Enough. The time has come to reach out to the local community and force more attention on the issue and create the avenues that need to be created in order to give local artisans a more viable and visible opportunity to promote and market their wares in a seasonal and/or year round prime market space.
 
Many feel that this is not only beneficial to the local artisans that make up this community, but also for the community and city itself in order to restore the creative, inspiring, local culture that seems to be intentionally eliminated due to the emphasis on more commercial and corporate pursuits.
 
The Inn Street Artisans Revival was created out of a backlash to commercial overreach on Inn Street. The same ideas and elements of empowerment can be applied to create more permanent avenues of trade and commerce for local artisans and small business ventures to further its appeal as a local, and truly more cultural and diversified, district.
The meeting for a Home Studio Network can be separate, or combined in one all encompassing meeting with the ‘expanded transient’ license and Artisan Market concept.
Let me know if there is anyone else out there that feels the same as I do and is interested in rising to the occasion to do something about it…just like we have with the Inn Street Artisans Revival.
For more insight on an Artisan Market proposal that I have had for many years now, please see;
As well as much more information in the links below.
Thank you and look forward to hearing from you and your ideas,
suggestions and contributions to any and/or all of the above!

Best Regards,

John William Brown
Artist/Owner
Spirit of Newburyport
42B Federal Street
Newburyport, MA 01950
978-417-1987
www.spiritofnewburyport.com

Yankee Homecoming Inn Street
Artisans Revival Coordinator

Yankee Homecoming Inn Street Artisans Revival
http://yankeehomecoming.com/event/inn-street-artisans-revival/

Newburyport Daily News Article – Worth The Price of Admission
Newburyport Daily News – Home Grown Festival
Yankee Homecoming Chairman Plans New Events
Artisan Revival Library Presentation