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MadeinHaliburton.ca and Arts Council~Haliburton Highlands Partnership

Don & Marie Gage recognized a need for the artists of the Haliburton Highlands to have an online gallery and marketplace that would enable the artistic products created in the region to gain visibility in an international arena. The Mission of this new company they envisioned would be to decrease the seasonality of sales from the many studios around the Haliburton Highlands and help to create a more stable year round economy for the artists. They approached the Arts Council to discuss the idea and to figure out a creative solution to the financial barriers related to creating such a website.  One of the mandates of the Arts Council is to be a catalyst for new community economic development initiatives related to the arts. As such they had also been considering the need for such an enterprise but did not see this as something that was within the mission or staff capacity of their organization in terms of the day to day operation of the site.  The development of a non-profit/for-profit partnership was seen as the perfect solution. Such a partnership would ensure that this new resource would become a reality for their members without consuming the resources of the Arts Council and distracting them from their mission as an organization. It would also meet a second mandate: “to work with community partners to promote the arts within the County and to the world at large”.

The Arts Council was able to identify a funding opportunity through the Ministry of Tourism and Culture's Cultural Strategic Investment Fund (CSIF). They completed an application for funding to create an online gallery and marketplace for products created in the Haliburton Highlands.  This project fell into three of the six funding priorities of the CSIF:  1. Creation of strategic alliances been members of the Cultural Sector and the business community, 2. Increased revenues from cultural projects, and 3. The development of new tools that will result in increased revenues within the cultural community. This funding application was successful and the partners in the grant project are:

·          * Arts Council~Haliburton Highlands – coordinator of the project

·          * MadeinHaliburton.ca – Don & Marie Gage owner/operators of the website

·          * The Art Hive – creator and host of four week-long exhibitions featuring the work of artists displaying items on the website

·          * Parker Pad & Printing Ltd. – shipper of goods to customers

·           * TheRightEyedDeer Press – creator of 12 featured artist articles for use in marketing of the website

A Steering Committee has been formed to manage the design and implementation process of the project. It consists of representation from each partner. This committee will manage the creation of a logo; design and creation of the website; and selection of the artists who display their work on the site. After completion of the grant period, the website will be owned and operated by Don & Marie Gage with the committee taking on an advisory role and continuing to assist in the selection of eligible artists. All individuals displaying work on the site will be members of the Arts Council~Haliburton Highlands.

The Arts Council~Hailburton Highlands will continue its relationship with the Gages and MadeinHaliburton.ca as the website and business move forward in the future.

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