KENNEBUNK – Promoting craft art, helping artists grow their businesses and engaging the wider community to see and value the work of Maine craft artists is the aim of Alison Godburn, named executive director of Maine Crafts Association and Shop Maine Craft in July.
“We need to get people more familiar and engaged with the creative community of Maine,” and include all who make art, said Godburn from her Kennebunk home on a recent day.
The nonprofit Maine Crafts Association was founded in 1983 to support and connect Maine’s craft artists. This year, a new, sister entity, Shop Maine Craft, was formed in a restructuring. Now, artists may display their work at Maine Craft, a retail gallery and resource center in Portland; at East End Vend, an outdoor market featuring art, food and farm products located at four Portland breweries; and at Shop Maine Craft in Gardiner and online at: shopmainecraft.com. Guild Fine Craft shows are upcoming in Scarborough Aug. 13, 14; Belfast, Sept 17, 18; and Brunswick, Oct. 22, 23. People may purchase ceramics, jewelry, baskets, works in wood, metal and fiber, personal care items, and more.
It is a heady time to be involved with Maine craft artists, said Godburn, who came to the organization after a decade at WGBH (Massachusetts public broadcasting) in Boston. She previously worked for The Arts and Business Council of Greater Boston, The Volunteer Lawyers for the Arts and for Coldwell Banker; and owned a jewelry design business. Godburn earned a degree in fine arts at the University of Connecticut.
She said she’s always wanted to work in the arts community – and with her background in designing jewelry, ceramic work, and for nonprofits and businesses, she noted Maine Crafts Association and Shop Maine Crafts was the perfect fit.
“I want to be the best ambassador for this organization,” she said. And Godburn added, she wants to increase the nonprofit’s inclusiveness, and encourage more indigenous people, immigrants and others into the fold.
She said she wants to meet those who don’t know about Maine Craft Association and Shop Maine Craft.
And she said she wants to assist Maine craft artists to increase their commerce.
Maine Crafts Association hosts a number of programs and workshops, including a craft apprentice program offered in partnership with the Maine Arts Commission, an array of online and in-person workshops with expert artists and professional development with business processionals; hosts a craft mentoring program and offers a workshop with Haystack School of Crafts. Along with Maine Made and Maine Development Foundation, Maine Crafts Association hosts Maine Craft Weekend, set for Oct. 1 and 2.
“I want to work with education associations to help people understand there is a career, if you want to be a crafts person,” she said. “We need to connect all of these things for people.”
Godburn pointed out that the nonprofit also looks for support, so it in turn can help support and advance the craft economy.
“The more people support the Maine Crafts Association, the more we can do,” she said.