Group helping artists on rez with business goals

May 7, 2015 By Alejandra Silva, Staff Writer

Artists from the Wind River Indian Reservation will have the opportunity to settle in a new venue to sell their products with the help of the Wyoming Women's Business Center of Laramie. The non-profit organization will administer its Market Fourth program with the help of its business counselor, Patricia Bergie, who works out of a satellite office in Fort Washakie.

Artists who do beadwork, crafts and fiber crafts are encouraged to attend the first meeting at 4 p.m. Tuesday at the Learning Center in Fort Washakie to discuss promoting their products.

"They're trying to help promote financial self-sufficiency, equality and economic justice," Bergie said. "I will assist them with starting or expanding their small business, promoting and identifying the markets --traditionally and digitally."

From her own experiences, Bergie said she knows what it is like trying to find a market and a time at which to sell. She will help artists initiate their business goals during the summer.

"We're hoping to get a group of artists that are interested in selling and potentially they may want to go into business," she said.

At the meeting, she hopes to create a collaboration among the entrepreneurs and build a lasting partnership that will, in turn, help everyone out individually.

Bergie said her group also hopes to "capture" the tourists who travel to Yellowstone National Park and who visit sites such as the Sacajawea Cemetery on the reservation. Bergie said the artists also will pursue art shows and online sales.

"We really want to identify the local market and expand it as we're moving with it," she said. "The opportunity is out there, so if people want to go and develop this, it's a good time to think about owning a business."

Bergie also noted this week is National Small Business Week.

She can be reached at 438-7103 or Caroline Mills at the Learning Center can be reached at 335-7639.

Clarification: This story should have said the Wyoming Women's Business Center of Laramie will help artists of both genders on the Wind River Indian Reservation. The correction was made May 11.

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