Indiana Artisan, an initiative launched in 2008 to help Indiana’s art and food artisans expand, now has its first retail location. Former Lieutenant Governor Becky Skillman and Indiana Artisan Director Eric Freeman cut the ribbon Tuesday on the store located inside the French Lick Resort Hotel.
The store offers art, fine craft and foods made by Indiana Artisans, of which there are 322 in 63 counties. The official Indiana Artisans are selected by jury panels every May and November. Freeman says the goal of the initiative is to identify the highest-quality art and food coming from Indiana.
"It’s an economic development program," says Freeman. "The goal is to help them expand their businesses while at the same time, creating a brand that defines Indiana more by its art and its food."
Freeman says the goal is to allow the artisans to stay where they are and help build the local economy. Skillman launched the initiative while serving as lieutenant governor.
"We started the program as a way to offer small business education and training and to provide for marketing and promotion and branding of the wonderful Indiana Artisan products," says Skillman. "We like to pride ourselves on being a state that has one of the best economic toolboxes in the country and we do that by having many small business that can flourish and grow to let people around the world see the great products that are handmade right here in Indiana."
Indiana Artisan also holds two marketplaces each year to allow artisans to showcase and sell their work. The events have grossed more than $2 million over six years.
The Indiana Artisan store at French Lick Resort Hotel will be open year-round, seven days a week.
Former Lieutenant Governor Becky Skillman says she is excited for the new store.
Indiana Artisan Director Eric Freeman says the store features art and food from artisans throughout the state