Grow Nebraska partnered with Lakota Hope Ministry this month during the 31st Oglala Nation Pow-Wow on the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation. Lakota Hope ran a booth in the inner circle around the arena. The booth was part of Lakota Hope’s program Grow2Gather an initiative to help artists build better businesses by connecting artists with new markets and teaching new business skills.
The booth housed over a dozen artists over the course of the four-day event. Artists presented a wide variety of products, ranging from beadwork and quill-work to watercolor paintings, and from traditional parfleche leatherwork to hand-painted vases. The purpose of the booth was to expose artists to a new, larger audience, and to boost artist’s sales.
The Pow-wow exceeded expectations! The artists made many new connections with people who came from all over the country to attend the Pow-wow. Artists exchanged information with visitors, and some talked with visitors about making custom pieces. A woman from the Ute Indian Museum in Montrose, Colorado bought pieces from several of our artists to display in the museum giving ongoing exposure to the artists in the Grow2Gather program.
Artists made great sales at the Pow-wow. Nearly five thousand dollars in sales were generated in the course of the four-day event. A credit card reader located at the information booth helped artists sell to customers who were not carrying cash making many large transactions possible. Free water, fans and Tanka sticks (made locally from buffalo meat) added an additional draw. Artists felt encouraged by the big boost to their businesses. Our artists began talking to one another about other big events, events they could do together in the future. Wilma Thin Elk, a Lakota artist and elder, expressed her eagerness for the next Grow2Gather meeting saying “We need to have more of these!”
Want to see some of the Artists' work? You can browse through some of the Lakota Crafters' products online anytime at BuyNebraska.com