New space provides artists with entrepreneurship skills
Village Oasis is an urban retreat for artists and lovers of art to gather, create, and celebrate the community of artists AMANDA SLAY has brought together to support and nourish.
“I wanted to teach other artist entrepreneurs the things I wished I had known when I started my business,” Slay explains. “The maker’s space is meant to help artists bypass all the mistakes I made.”
Slay began her macramé business in 2017 while living in Myrtle Beach and was invited to a maker’s market at terra sol sanctuary. Despite the fact that she had only “three plant hangers – I had nothing to bring,” she went and ended up teaching macramé workshops there on a regular basis.
Inspired to create a maker’s space in Myrtle Beach, Slay began the research into making it a reality, but took the idea with her when she and her husband, a tattoo artist and wood burner, moved to Wilmington in 2019.
Slay was busy selling at markets and was working full time as a barista when the building at 214 Walnut St. “fell into my lap,” Slay says, in December 2020. The lease started in February of this year and her vision became a reality when Village Oasis opened in April.
The two-level building is home to a boutique selling local, handmade artwork, clothing, jewelry and housewares in the front section of the downstairs, and an open concept communal maker’s space in the back section of that ground floor.
“There are so many artists with so many different mediums, and the spirit is there, but not necessarily, the business savvy,” Slay explains.
To allay these issues, as part of their rent for their individual workspace, artists are provided with monthly talks from local entrepreneurs, as well as Power Weeks held every quarter.
“We have speakers to help artists with their personal business or branding. It could be a life coach to talk about accountability and productivity or a CPA to help them get their ducks in a row,” Slay describes. “It is a lot of learning. The tools that they learn here will help them be successful on their own.”
Currently, the Maker’s Space is home to a potter, a resin artist, and a painter who use the open concept space to brainstorm and bond with each other which Slay says is “reflected in their work.” There are two available spots in the space and two more will be available in January.
The boutique is available for local artists who would like to display and sell their work.
“Makers are a different type of artist. They pay attention to the produce and do not do mass sale, Cricut-type crafts,” Slay says.
Upstairs, Slay’s husband has his tattoo studio, Night Owls Only. The remaining upstairs space is available for rent as an event space. The minimalist, boho chic gathering place is also slated to become a bottle shop if Slay’s plan comes to fruition.
The Village Oasis boutique is open 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Mondays-Saturday.
Workshops and classes are in the works for the event space.
To view more of photographer Aris Harding’s work, go to arisharding.com.
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