When last we checked in with mother and artist Erin Hüber, her Mother Artist Project was steadily gaining momentum. She had been interviewing women who often put their art on a back burner for the sake of raising children, mothers who sometimes feel guilty for taking time for creativity, even when they had a few spare moments to themselves. Less than a year later, MAP has continued expanding and will premiere its Mother Artist Market this Friday, May 1, at the Harrison Center for the Arts (1505 N. Delaware St.) 6 - 10 p.m.
"I put [the market] together to showcase the work of a lot of the local mother artists that have been interviewed already with the Mother Artist Project," Hüber says. "I've discovered a lot of them don't have studio spaces that are as specific as the one I have at the Harrison Center. A lot of them do other markets like the [Indieana] Handicraft Exchange" -- another effort started by a mother artist -- "so they're familiar with the whole market idea."
- Courtesy of Erin Hüber
Dozens of artists -- working in the full spectrum of media -- take part in the Mother Artist Project.
The Mother Artist Market will be in the Underground of the Harrison Center and will feature 16 vendors and two bands -- mother musicians Kara Beth Rasure and Sarah Grain. Grain was profiled on Hüber's blog shortly after it got its start. "She's amazing and so excited," Hüber says. In fact, Grain is so invested in the market that she's offered to play for free. "It seems like a lot of these artist moms have each other's backs," Hüber says. "They form this circle of 'How can I help you?' like a community, which is great."
The musician mom wanted to be a part of the market event, because she treasures her time for creative pursuits and credits motherhood with helping her fully appreciate the role that art plays in her life.
"When I became a mother, everything took four times as long to get done and music became something I had to fight for," says Grain. "I had to make time that wasn't there, collaborate just to keep myself accountable, and dig deep to unearth the creative energy I had been using to sustain the lives of my children. Now art is ... something I am and motherhood taught me what that truly means."
Hüber has done a lot of interviews with mother artists since she began the MAP blog in 2014, but she's yet to meet many of the women with whom she's spoken. "People are finding me and wanting to be in the market," she says. "I've caught a lot of attention with it, because there isn't anything this specific."
She hopes to present MAP to the public to let people know the project is still going on. "It's growing and growing," Hüber says. "It's not just a local thing. It's kind of a worldwide thing. I'm pulling in interviews from all over the place. Now I want to do something more with it. I want these women to be showcased, I want them to have a place to gather together and do what they do, sell what they make, and talk about what they do, face-to-face with the public in one room."
- Photo by Drew Endicott
The Mother Artist Project spreads awareness about the dedication and hard work of women artists with children and inspires them to pursue their dreams.
While interviewing her fellow artists, Hüber asks what resources they lack. Not surprisingly, access to daycare and a dearth of funding are two primary concerns. In response to this issue, the Mother Artist Market will include a raffle in support of a grant Hüber will award to one mother artist next year.
"I've noticed these moms say, 'Yes, I would totally accept any grant, any funding that's out there," Hüber says. Raffle items will include a CD from Sarah Grain; a print of a paper cutting Hüber did of a wolf running through a forest; and a bouquet of fresh flowers from floral designer Jacquelyn Nolen, who recently relocated Blue Flower Studio from New York to Indianapolis.
- Courtesy of Erin Hüber
Jacquelyn Nolen divides her time in floral design between the Midwest and New York since landing an internship with a master florist in 2010.
Also a mother artist, floral designer and business owner, Nolen shares some of her experience with starting a business as a busy mom.
"Working with flowers is like raising a child; it's a labor of love," Nolen says, describing how she felt trying to balance her creative work and parenting responsibilities. "I started Blue Flower out of my tiny kitchen in Brooklyn and sold small bouquets at a local boutique. I'd wake up early and go to the 28th Street flower market in the city before my daughter woke up. I'd lug my large bundles of flowers back to my apartment on the subway and I made it work."
Her creative passion fueled the fire to begin her business, but it wasn't enough to prevent the stress and feelings of uncertainty.
"As much as I wanted to dive into my creative work, there was a huge learning cure at home as a new mother. I felt torn," she adds.
Vendors at the market will include everything from jewelry makers to potters. Hüber has also included painters and mother artists specializing in handcrafted items, including purses. Naturally, mothers are welcome to include their children in the market exhibit, but it's not a requirement.
"They've got to do their job," Hüber explains, noting that the event will still be family-friendly. Hüber's daughter will be on hand to do face painting for attendees while Hüber staffs the MAP table to talk about the importance of promoting women in the arts and how to access MAP online.
- Courtesy of Erin Hüber
MAP is currently accepting donations for the Mother Artist Grant.
There will also be a special holding space at the market for painter Susan Hodgin, a beloved and greatly admired mother artist in the community who lost her battle with cancer last fall. Proceeds from the sales of Hodgin's artwork will go toward her young daughter's education fund.
Hüber hopes to make the Mother Artist Market an annual event. The kickoff has a lot of oomph behind it: This year marks the first anniversary of the MAP show that was on display at the Harrison Center last year.
The market will take place during the Harrison's already-popular open studio night and the opening of a new gallery that was being renovated during April. Chances are good that Hüber and her participating vendors will welcome a good crowd, including those shopping for Mother's Day gifts.
It was easy for Hüber to fill artist slots for the marketplace. "I had a handful of artists I was sure would be interested," she says. "I just opened the door and people were totally interested in coming in."
Even though, for example, photographer Lauren Ditchley has her own studio at the Harrison Center, she will also have pieces in the Market annex to support the "sisterhood of artists, as we call it," according to Hüber.
Though the mother artist community has long been in existence, Hüber is "putting these women like dots on a map. We have a lot of talented women who work really hard to do what they love."
- Courtesy of Erin Hüber
Rana Salame Striedinger will sell some of the jewelry she creates at the Mother Artist Market this Friday at the Harrison Center.
Often thanked for her advocacy, Hüber humbly says she doesn't think of herself that way.
"I try to stay out of it ... not give my opinions during interviews. I don't want people to feel like they don't belong," she says. "I want them to realize the frustrations they have at balancing it all are 100 percent normal. They are not any different than any other mother artist out there. Each day is a new day, and we keep moving forward and doing what we love. Before we know it we'll have more time to make more things."
Be sure to stop by the Harrison this Friday to experience the Mother Artist Market during its inauguration. Interested persons who are unable to attend the event but want to support Hüber's efforts to establish a Mother Artist Grant are invited to visit the GoFundMe page for more information.