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The business of art

The Arts Incubator at Artlink offers business program for creative entrepreneurs

By Eddie Torres

Fort Wayne Reader


Arts Incubator

The Arts Incubator at Artlink is developing a new creative class in Northeast Indiana. It gives creative entrepreneurs the skills, networking opportunities and action planning to start and maintain self-sustaining small businesses. It is for all creative types, not just visual artists. The Arts Incubator is one of the Fort Wayne Cultural Districts eight Platform for Action initiatives.

The Arts Incubator bridges the gap for folks who have a great idea or talent but do not know how to act on it. Nowhere in Northeast Indiana is there an organization that caters specifically to the needs of arts-based entrepreneurs. Meeting the needs of entrepreneurs is another step toward creating a livable cultural climate that we all desire with a focus on downtown Fort Wayne

Artlink, the parent of the Arts Incubator, is one of 12 principal partners of the regional arts fund, Arts United, making it strategically situated amongst other key regional players.


CO.STARTERS is a process designed to turn your business idea into action.

CO.STARTERS is a nine-week program meeting once a week for three hours. Facilitators are experienced entrepreneurs who are well connected in the business community. Guest speakers share the challenges they faced while starting and growing businesses and business professionals from leading accounting and law firms offer their support to program participants.

Throughout this business model discovery process, participants identify and test business assumptions through customer interactions, develop a functioning business model, learn valuable management and marketing skills, and receive constructive feedback from advisors, peers and former grads. At the end, you’ll have the tools, framework and momentum you need to make your vision a reality—and the best part is you won’t be in it alone.

The course fee is $250 and includes materials. A $50 deposit is required to reserve your seat. This deposit applies toward the course fee and is non-refundable.


• 9-week business development program
• Diverse mindsets, backgrounds and businesses make for a more valuable experience
• Facilitated, not taught, drawing on the knowledge of the group
• Every facilitator is required to have experience starting and running a business.

The next CO.STARTERS class begins Thursday, March 20, 2014.


Art Dialogues are offered in concurrence with each CO.STARTERS class. They include panel discussions, roundtables and info sessions. These are one-time events that offer a quick shot of networking or information in a short timeframe. Art Dialogues are free for CO.STARTERS participants and grads, a nominal fee of $5 - $10 is charged for the general public.

Art Dialogues spring/summer sessions will begin in April, 2014.


The Art Entrepreneur’s Resource Center (AERC) is an extensive source of information for doing business in Fort Wayne. AERC resides mainly on the Arts Incubator website (going live April 2014).

AERC includes a calendar of events with information on upcoming CO.STARTERS and Art Dialogues, an artisan directory of CO.STARTERS graduates, a listing of Arts Incubator partners, registration and payment options for upcoming programs, community resources and secured resources, such as an Arts Business Manual, for CO.STARTERS graduates.

As businesses grow out of the program, they will be featured on the Arts Incubator website.

The Arts Incubator opens with a big reception on Thursday, January 30th at 6:30, featuring food, drink, and a raffle. Artlink’s Executive Director Deb Washler will present the Art Incubator and its components. The first CO.STARTERS facilitator, Steve Franks, will also say a few words about the program.

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©2018 Fort Wayne Reader. All rights Reserved.