UrbanGlass is excited to share the support of $20,000 from TD Charitable Foundation for the Bead Project program’s 25th anniversary year, a project supporting the creative entrepreneurial pursuits of women, femmes, and nonbinary individuals who have been historically excluded from the arts, small business ownership, and various modes of supplemental income.
The Bead Project is a unique scholarship program where participants learn the art of glass beadmaking while gaining an education in entrepreneurship. Scholarship recipients participate in studio and classroom coursework, where they develop skills in jewelry fabrication and design, product marketing, and practical strategies for launching a successful small business. Annually, the Bead Project provides participants with the time, tools, and community support needed to pursue their creative ambitions and form actionable plans to turn a unique artform into a viable source of income. Participants complete the program with a deepened understanding of the contemporary arts landscape of New York City and the skills to launch and maintain their respective small businesses.
"I came to the Bead Project a bit timid and worn down from life. But, amongst such amazing people I found myself, a better and stronger me, and a love of glass that I hadn't experienced. This is where my passion bloomed and my mind was expanded. All of the opportunities that came after this experience feels like a true blessing. I am always and forever grateful to the Bead Project and UrbanGlass,” said Aullar Mateo, a Bead Project alumni.
During the year of 2022, the Bead Project supported 24 participants in discovering an artform, creating merchandise, and acquiring skills to form their small businesses. Through working with professional artists and business owners these participants were able to sell their work through the UrbanGlass store, Bead Project Fall/Spring Trunk Shows, and individual markets. In September, the Bead Project alumni and current participants met to network for their businesses and build a community of artists with over 25 years of experience developing small woman, femme, and nonbinary-owned businesses.
Because of the support from TD Charitable Foundation, UrbanGlass has been able to continue the Bead Project to design programming that uplifts the New York City community through providing guidance for individuals seeking a creative outlet and an education in entrepreneurship.
“The Bead Project Program perfectly aligns with UrbanGlass’ mission to support emerging artists accomplish their goals, build a strong community through skill sharing and experimentation, and promote historically underrepresented identities to gain access to education and exploration in the unique and ranging studio space. This program exemplifies our values and builds the foundation for many women-owned businesses (including cis women, transwomen, and femme-identified nonbinary people), but has set the framework for inclusive and people-centered programming here at UrbanGlass,” said Devin Mathis, Executive Director of UrbanGlass.
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