Longmont Startup Week Day 4: Artists Talk Passion, Profits

By Vince Winkel
Daily Times-Call, Longmont, Colo.

An overflow, standing room only crowd packed the cozy confines of the Still Cellars Distillery in Longmont on Thursday, to discuss art, music and making a living.

“Follow your passion and do what you like,” said panel moderator Joanne Kirves, executive director of Arts Longmont.

Another panelist, Connor Magyar of the Longmont Compass and an independent musician, explained how he hit the jackpot. “I get to write for my job, and be creative, and then still make music.” He did, however, remind the audience that he usually doesn’t get paid for the music aspect of his life.

Much of the discussion revolved around Longmont’s arts community, and Main Street. One concern was how economic development and the art world here intersect.

“We can’t price out the artists who work downtown,” Kirves said. “Cool moves in, new restaurants move in, the rents go up, and artists are forced to leave.”

For Julie Cardinal, owner of the Darkroom Gallery on Main Street, the first six months of her gallery’s existence have been filled with lessons.

“I know what will sell, and the price point,” she explained. “The market in Longmont for fine art photography is around $400 and below.”

There are always exceptions, she added, as some larger pieces have sold for much more.

Another theme on the table was marketing, or lack thereof.

“Artists need to market themselves,” said panelist Debra Heiser, owner of Heiser Design. “Don’t expect a gallery to market you. You have to do that and market yourself.”

“Also don’t undervalue yourself,” Heiser added. “Don’t make light of your talent.”

The final day of Startup Week has some exciting events downtown, including mentoring sessions and a vendor showcase.
9 a.m. “Entrepreneurs For Good: Social Enterprise Models” with Jennie Arbogash, at the Dickens Opera House, 300 Main St.

“Social enterprise” is helping people think differently about how to tackle our biggest community needs. Learn how nonprofit business leaders are infusing this innovative model into the social sector’s traditional structures and cultures, amplifying the powers of good and attaining mission impact, as well as financial returns.

11 a.m. “Cannabiz: Exploring a High Growth Colorado Industry” featuring Mike Eckstine, Sue Harank, Jonathan Singer and Samantha Walsh. The statewide opportunities in the marijuana and hemp sectors have not gone unnoticed by local entrepreneurs — and in this session experts ranging from House Representative Jonathan Singer to consulting guru Sue Harank and Samantha Walsh of the Rocky Mountain Hemp Association will discuss the state of the industry.

Also at 11 a.m., the vendor showcase opens at 475 Main St. and runs through 3:00 p.m. Come over and see who is creating and selling great stuff.

“The LSW15 Showcase is kinesthetic way to cap off the inaugural startup week. It is an exposition of the ‘do it’ community, located in the center of Longmont Startup Week events — free and open to all,” said Clint Bickmore, who planned the event. “There will be vendors, sponsors and local businesses that are integral to our community. The showcase is nicely paired with the mentorship program in downtown Longmont, where the showcase is at the library and the mentorship is at the Dickens Opera House.”

11 a.m. “One-on-One Mentoring Sessions” at the Dickens Opera House. Come get FREE 1-to-1 expert advice from a business professional held at the Dickens Opera House. You need to sign up for your 20 minute session here —

3 p.m. “Start IT… Ex IT… Start IT Again!” with George Heinrichs and Stephen Meer at the Dickens Opera House. George Heinrichs and Stephen Meer are unlikely to be hurting for a few bucks. After founding Intrado in 1979 and selling for somewhere in the neighborhood of $450 million you might be forgiven for wishing them a happy and relaxing environment on a beach somewhere. Instead, they’ve started another business — Public Safety Ventures, an incubator dedicated to companies that improve the lives and safety of citizens.
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