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Success does grow on trees
Two artists win marketing and branding scholarship with Toronto-based Song Tree

Nicole Garbutt
Northern News Services
Published Monday, July 23, 2012

Two Nunavummiut jewellery artists have hit the marketing jackpot with artist scholarships valued at approximately $10,000 in services.

NNSL photo/graphic

Abraham Eetak of Arviat works on a piece of jewelry during the Nunavut Arts and Crafts Festival in Iqaluit earlier this month. - photo courtesy of James Oliver

Abraham Eetak of Arviat, who learned the art from his father, and Dan Wade of Iqaluit, who graduated the jewelry and metalworks class from Nunavut Arctic College in 2006, were chosen as the recipients for a marketing and branding scholarship from Toronto-based web design company The Song Tree.

Song Tree representative James Oliver travelled to Iqaluit for the Nunavut Arts and Crafts festival earlier this month. The idea for a scholarship came to him on his trip there.

"We had been working with the Nunavut Arts and Crafts Association (NACA) for over a year, developing their website and building content, so I had been dealing with artist bios and photos of their work for that and became very immersed in the Inuit art world without actually having experienced it," he said.

The arts organization asked The Song Tree to help document the festival and compile promotional images, said Rowena House, executive director of NACA, said,

"Having The Song Tree on board offers us more of a presence, sometimes during the festival when we are running around we can't get the photos we want and things like that," House said.

After spending a week with the artists at the festival, Oliver could not pick just one artist to award the scholarship to, so they selected two.

"We were all really surprised," said House. "In the end I think it will be a big step forward for the artists as a business."

Oliver said the primary focus of the scholarship will be developing a professional artist website for Eetak and Wade, who were unavailable for comment by press deadline.

"We are not talking e-commerce, the website won't be used to generate huge sales, but for most artists in Nunavut, they make their money at festivals and through buyers, so it is more of a promotional tool for young artists to get their name out," Oliver explained.

House said, "The Song Tree is very talented in the arts side of things, it is why we went with them for our website and they are very fast at getting things accomplished, I think it will be a good fit."

Wade is the artist that Oliver will start with he said.

"I will stagger them a bit, depending on how quickly we can develop together, sometimes a brand can take seconds to formulate or others, it could be the full year."

Oliver said that as Eetak is also an accomplished musician, on stage known as Agaaqtoq and that may be the avenue they end up taking for his website and artist branding. "Depending on what he really wants to make a go of, whatever makes the most sense."

Oliver said things will be a bit of trial and error when getting started. "I don't have tons of experience with Nunavut art, but the benefit of working with them is that they are teaching me as well."

Eetak and Wade, were unavailable for comment by press time.

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