When the Indigenous Artist Market Collective started in 2018, it only had four members. Now, there’s over 80.
“It actually wasn’t that hard, we grew pretty fast,” says Lorrie Lawrence, executive director of Indigenous Artist Market Collective (I.A.M. Collective) “That’s how much it was needed.”
The collective was born out of the idea that Indigenous artists needed a wider audience for their goods. Many artists sold their goods at cultural events, but Lawrence notes they weren’t getting the business they deserved. The I.A.M. Collective business model gives members access to mainstream markets, like the Edmonton Downtown Farmers Market, to sell their work.
“I.A.M. bridges the gap,” says Lawrence. “We’ll absolutely guarantee you handcrafted, locally made products and we’ll always put you in touch with the best artists to fit your needs. It’s been a brilliant relationship and a real sense of community for the artists.”
I.A.M.’s other main goal is to teach appreciation, not appropriation. Appropriation of Indigenous culture is when non-Indigenous people imitate or make Indigenous-inspired artwork, clothing or other goods that wouldn’t otherwise be part of Indigenous culture.
“With appreciation, the best way I can describe it is it’s the way we honour the people that make the things for us, like our beadwork or our ribbon skirts,” says Lawrence. “We want you to come out, meet these artists face to face and hear their stories.”
Shop from I.A.M. Collective’s artists at the Edmonton Downtown Farmers Market on Saturdays and Sundays, and at the Fort Edmonton Park Indigenous Peoples Experience.
This content was produced to support the Edmonton Made community. It is not written by and does not necessarily reflect the views of Edify staff.