“The thing we learned is not all artists want to be entrepreneurs – most simply want to create and be paid to create,” Executive Director Matt McClure said. “Instead of focusing on entrepreneurship, we’re now focusing on arts as an economic driver, and as an engine for growth and a creative economy rooted at the individual artist level.”
The former arts incubator focused on arts and entrepreneurship, Matt McClure said.
The new incubator, named 212, will consist of animation, illustration and interactive artists, the last of which includes creative coders and game designers.
Work in animation, design and cinematography, which currently employs 64,400 people nationwide, is expected to grow 6 to 11 percent nationally by 2024, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. Creative coding and web development, which employed 148,500 people in 2014, is expecting to see growth of 27 percent nationally.
One of the goals of the program is to see “artists working across these mediums creating here and being paid here and employing others here and serving as small business leaders, project leaders, conduits of other industries that don’t look at Fort Wayne or northeast Indiana as viable right now.”
The program will work by having artists pitch ideas via an application to an advisory board of professional artists in those fields.
Those accepted to join the incubator will have access to one-on-one mentoring with industry professionals on the advisory board, as well as the opportunity to use new studio space in Artlink for work.
The space includes computers, virtual reality equipment, video and photo equipment and more, McClure said.
Artists will give a tax-deductible gift based on the revenue of their project, ranging from 1 to 5 percent, depending on the time commitment for the project.
To fund the equipment costs upfront, Artlink received “generous support” from the Knight Foundation, the Community Foundation of Greater Fort Wayne, the Indiana Arts Commission and the Ian and Mimi Rolland Foundation, as well as individual sponsors.