The talented makers and artists of today must be entrepreneurial and seek to balance their creative practice with a marketplace model that allows for a multifaceted definition of success.

This symposium brings together a range of talented and ambitious artists who have developed their own business models based on their skill, vision, and passions to discuss their experiences and ideas of the entrepreneurship decisions necessary for success in today’s climate.
The guests will serve as example, inspiration, and catalyst for conversation and progress for young and emerging designers, artists, and makers intent on exploring expanded possibilities for a creative practice.


panel discussion

Thursday, September 25

Windgate Gallery
North Bennet Street School
150 North Street, Boston

5:00 pm - Network with the panelists
6:00 pm - Panel discussion

Panelists share stories about how they crafted their practice to create meaningful careers.
Free and open to the public (please complete the simple registration form below)

Creative Practice Charrette
Friday September 26
North Bennet Street School
150 North Street, Boston
9:00 am - 3:00 pm

Join focused workshops led by symposium panelists to explore and bridge creative practices with marketplace opportunities. Workshop topics are listed below.  Registration is required. (please indicate your participation on the form below).

Mike Flanigan leads a logo design and branding workshop. Three potential bicycle business profiles are provided. Working in teams, students determine a product name, brand identity, and name plate design. Students then work together to fabricate a name plate using plate metal associated with the theme of the design.

Molly Hatch leads a design charette on the strategies and challenges of creating works in collaboration with companies for retail production. Participants develop pieces based on design directives, inspiration pages and selected color palette and discuss realities and opportunities of design collaboration.

Bart Niswonger focuses on marketing with a particular focus on furniture. Participants explore a few furniture stores, observing how the various brands present themselves and gathering artifacts that will be used to discuss marketing approaches and how they might apply to participants work. Participants are encouraged to bring 1-2 images of their own work as well as a cell phone or camera with which they can record field observations to share with the group.

Matthew Shlian leads participants in an exploration of the medium of paper to create movable works of art using popup books as a starting point. Using a combination of papers, participants learn the elements of paper mechanics and then apply them to books, collapsible structures, interactive kinetic design and foldable sculpture. Some techniques include curve folding, pleating systems and modular design. Students are encouraged to bring in their own imagery, photographs, etc. to work from. 

Mike Flanigan - panelist

Mike Flanigan and his wife Betsy run the small bicycle fabrication shop Alternative Needs Transportation (ANT) in Walpole, Massachusetts. Mike has been in the bike trade since 1983 and joined the Boston bike building community in 1989. Since 2001, A.N.T. has been dedicated to building bikes for transportation that have the right combination of function and style. Flanigan’s passion for the bike industry and the culture of living by bike are evident in the creation of ANT Learn more about ANT online.


Molly Hatch - Panelist

Molly Hatch studied drawing, painting, printmaking and ceramics and received her BFA at the Museum School in, Boston, and her MFA in ceramics from University of Colorado Boulder. She is a recipient of the Arts/Industry Residency in the Pottery at the John Michael Kohler Arts Center in Wisconsin and numerous other residencies and apprenticeships. Her work has been widely licensed in partnership with Anthropologie, Galison, Chronicle, and other companies; featured in numerous publications; and extensively collected, commissioned and exhibited internationally. For the last two years, Hatch has been a visiting critic at the Rhode Island School of Design. Learn more on her website

Bart Niswonger - panelist

Bart Niswonger is a furniture designer and builder based in Worthington, Massachusetts. He began exploring furniture making while completing a graduate degree in computer science and continues to design and build functional furniture that provide strong visual and tactile experiences. His objects invite strong reactions, forcing a confrontation with expectations of what furniture should be. He is the recipient of the Society of Arts and Crafts’ 2001 John D. Mineck Furniture Fellowship, a member of the Furniture Society Board of Trustees and has been featured in numerous publications and exhibitions. His work can be seen at on his website

Matthew Shlian - panelist

Matthew Shlian is an artist/designer and founder of the Initiative Artist Studio in Ann Arbor, Michigan. His work includes drawings, large-scale installations and collaborations with leading scientists at the University of Michigan. His work for the National Science Foundation explores paper folding structures on the macro level translated to the nano-scale. His client list includes Ghostly International, Apple, P&G, Facebook, Levi’s, Sesame Street and the Queen of Jordan. His work can be seen at on his website


Perry A. Price - moderator

Perry Price is the director of education for the American Craft Council, where he is responsible for programming and outreach providing thought leadership and cultivating critical thinking on the field of contemporary craft. Prior to joining the ACC he served as curator of exhibitions and collections at Fuller Craft Museum in Brockton, Massachusetts. Price is a graduate of the Cooperstown Graduate Program in Museum Studies and Johns Hopkins University, and is a scholar of American craft, design, and material culture.




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Helpful details

Directions and parking, including information on discounted parking near the venue, online here.

RSVP using the simple form below. 

Sponsoring organizations


The symposium is presented by North Bennet Street School and American Craft Council.

The project is supported in part by the Windgate Charitable Foundation.

About Making Meaning in the Marketplace

The Making Meaning in the Marketplace series of symposia focuses on the next generation of craft artists and their burgeoning influence on our larger culture and the art marketplace. The American Craft Council partners with leading schools in craft media to co-create programming that addresses students’ interest and considers the many ways they might contribute to the future of craft.