Online gallery launched to support Cherokee artists

BY STAFF REPORTS
11/23/2016 04:00 PM
Main Cherokee Phoenix
The home page for the Authentically Cherokee website. The website is an online gallery where shoppers can buy Cherokee art. COURTESY
Main Cherokee Phoenix
A page on the Authentically Cherokee website shows an Ebb & Flow Fish Bowl for sale for $200 by a Cherokee artist. Ninety-five percent of all sales go directly to the artists, and the remainder is used to maintain the site. COURTESY
CHEROKEE, N.C. – The Sequoyah Fund and Our Native American Business Network, two nonprofit organizations that support Native American entrepreneurs, have launched Authentically Cherokee, an online gallery where shoppers can purchase handcrafted pieces created by Cherokee artists.

The website, https://authenticallycherokee.com, is the culmination of a two-year project designed to accelerate the growth of Native American art businesses.

“We see Authentically Cherokee as a way for our local artists to reach global markets,” said Hope Huskey, Sequoyah Fund assistant director, who worked directly with the artists featured on the site.

Huskey said participating artists received several hours of training to prepare them for marketing their work in an online setting.

“The Authentically Cherokee project has been all about creating an environment where the participating artists will thrive,” Veronica Hix, ONABEN executive director, said.

Hix said while Sequoyah Fund is managing the site, the ultimate goal is to shift that responsibility to the artists.

“We are very proud of the artists featured on the Authentically Cherokee site. This is a big step in the development of their businesses, and they have played an integral role in the whole process,” Huskey said. “The Authentically Cherokee artists wrote content and had input on the site design.”

Huskey said Authentically Cherokee is an artist-led initiative, and that 95 percent of all sales go directly to the artists, and the remainder is used to maintain the site.

“Each purchase helps promote and preserve the Cherokee culture and way of life,” she said.

Huskey said she hopes the trends in online shopping and Native American designs will help benefit the Authentically Cherokee artists.

“With the holidays coming up, our timing couldn’t be better. Everything on the site would make a great one-of-a kind gift,” she said.

The Authentically Cherokee artists use their own techniques and incorporate their individual style into each piece sold through the online gallery, which features items such as basketry, prints, jewelry, sculpture, and pottery.

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