Bishop Hill was started in 1846 by Swedish immigrants as a communal colony. Today, Bishop Hill is a state historic site and a national historic landmark enjoyed by over 90,000 visitors annually.
The Bishop Hill Creative Commons Artists’ Cooperative Membership Guidelines, Benefits, and Expectations:
The main advantage of joining The Commons as a member of the Artist Cooperative is that every artist who joins will get a storefront sales opportunity in a well-traveled location without the expense and time commitment of opening their own shop. Bishop Hill has an event every other weekend from April through December, with as many as a thousand visitors per weekend on a busy weekend. These are tourists who come to shop and love to take home something locally crafted. We will also host music and storytelling concerts bringing in foot traffic on a weekly basis. These are the customer that supports local artists. Artists can also rent the hall for private events at a discount.
Artists will share the responsibility of maintaining the website and fulfilling orders. Each artist will get to use the larger central floor in a shared special exhibit once a year. There will be holiday galas and special events on a regular basis. Artists will also be offered slots to teach classes for homeschool students and for the general public. These exhibits and classes are an opportunity to generate additional income throughout the year. This is an engaging group of artists who will inspire and encourage each other, share ideas and inspiration, share marketing and networks, and work together so we all might step up our level of success both creatively and economically. We are dedicated to the personal and professional development of all artists in an encouraging and respectful environment.
The expectations are simple:
- Our juried application process means that you submit three examples of your work and participate in an interview with the other artists.
- A one-time membership fee of $35 per artist.
- Each artist will maintain their booth, making an attractive display area with plenty of inventory. They will also be responsible for changing inventory seasonally.
- Each artist will help maintain the building with basic cleaning on their work days.
- Each artist will work 1-3 days per month as shopkeeper, depending on need. It is the responsibility of the artist to swap dates with another artists if something comes up. (Artists are more than welcome to use the space to create during off hours and especially during the many event weekends. Public displays of the creative process will lead to more sales!)
- Artists will pay their rent in a timely manner, by the 25th of the preceding month. Full booths are $75 and half booths are $40.
- Each artist will receive a sales report with a check to be issued monthly by the 5th of each month. All sales go directly to the artist with no gallery commissions. (Except 8% of all sales will go a common fund to cover daily operating costs, like bags, wrapping paper, credit card charges, etc.)
- Artists are also required to attend a monthly meeting/potluck to contribute to the overall management of the cooperative.
- If an artist cannot meet these simple standards they can be asked to leave.
- If an artist chooses to leave they should give a 60 day notice, (with one exception, if another artist has been juried in and is waiting to claim the booth.)