Art Entrepreneurship

Episode 130: Leah, Eileen, and Tyler with Canvas and Chardonnay

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Today on the show we sit down with the owners of Canvas and Chardonnay Leah Joy Bee, Eileen Bruns, and Tyler Aug. Canvas and Chardonnay, located in the heart of historic downtown Rochester, is an “art and community space where people of all ages, however you identify, are welcome.” The space offers numerous art classes, live music, yoga, a book and crystal emporium, and much more. On the podcast today we talk more about Canvas and Chardonnay, discuss how the business has grown since this trio purchased it last May, talk about plans for the future, and learn what current initiatives taking place in Rochester’s innovation community these entrepreneurs think everyone should know about.  


Links from the show today:

Canvas and Chardonnay


Facebook: @CanvasandChardonnay

Instagram: @canvasandchardonnay


Odd News by Twin Musicom is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution license (


Episode 123: A Chat with Local Art Innovator Sophia Chai

Photo courtesy of Sophia Chai.

Photo courtesy of Sophia Chai.

Today on the podcast we sit down with new Rochester resident and art innovator Sophia Chai. Sophia moved to Rochester about one year ago with her husband and daughter from New York City. She originally became interested in black and white photography during high school as a way to express herself as a Korean immigrant. On the podcast today we talk about Sophia’s work in painting and photography, her transition with her family to Rochester, and how she’s found a “hub of creative energy” at Threshold Arts in the Castle Community, among many other topics. Join us in this engaging discussion with another amazing local female innovator in celebration of Women’s History Month.


Links from the show today:

Sophia Chai


Instagram: @sophiachainyc


Odd News by Twin Musicom is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution license (


Episode 112: Ritz Crafters with Danni, Michaelene, and Shelly


Today on the podcast we sit down with three entrepreneurs and talk about handmade goods! This week we chat with Danni Trester, organizer of Ritz Crafters, and local makers Michaelene Karlen of Ballerina Botanicals Organic Skincare and Shelly Daood of Bound to be Creative. Michaelene is a professional dancer and Miss Minnesota 2018. She founded Ballerina Botanicals a few years ago with her mom after being diagnosed with an autoimmune disorder. Shelly always felt the need to be creative, leading this mom of three to start selling her handmade, one-of-a-kind hats, even some right off her head.

Today we had a great time recording this four-person podcast (the first that I’ve ever recorded solo!), which included the lights in the room frequently turning off as we were serenaded with dog toys in the background.  

Today on the podcast we talk about how these ladies got started with their maker-style businesses and what strategies they’ve used to grow their companies.

 We also chat about Ritz Crafters, a new-to-Rochester indie craft show coming to the city February 9th. This event will take place at the 4H Building at the Olmsted County Fair Grounds, showcasing new ideas and unique, technical crafting skill sets. Forty-five different vendors will participate in the event.


Links from the show today:

Ritz Crafters:

Facebook: @RitzCrafters

Instagram: @ritzcrafters


Ballerina Botanicals and Organic Skincare:

Facebook: @BallerinaBotanicals

Instagram: @Michaeleneaballerina


Bound to be Creative:

Facebook: @boundtobecreativeshop

Instagram: @boundtobecreative


Thanks to our sponsors for making this podcast happen! This podcast is brought to you by:

o   The Musicant Group

o   Website:

o   Twitter: @musicantgroup

o   Instagram: @musicantgroup

Episode 99: Sean Williams and Comicker LLC


Today on the podcast we sit down with founder of Comicker LLC, Sean Williams. Comicker is a diversity focused, digital first, creator friendly comics publisher that Sean operates out of Austin, Minnesota. Sean is a New York Times best-selling comics writer and Montana native who cut his teeth in the LA film scene. Today on the podcast we talk about:


·      The growth and creation of Comicker.

·      The business model behind the publishing company.

·      Trends Sean is seeing today in the comics industry, including expansion of paper comics into library systems.

·      Lessons Sean learned from his first business endeavor Foot in the Door Entertainment, a film and television production company.

·      The pivot Comicker is currently in away from digital and towards print.

·      The difficulties of “operating in isolation” as an entrepreneur.

·      The prep work Sean is currently doing for an exciting new iteration of Comicker.


“I saw how hard it was to basically break in as a creator…. There was no bridge between school and the real world. I wanted to create that opportunity for other creators, in particular.” -Sean Williams, Founder of Comicker LLC

Episode 94: Andy Smith and Gray Duck Theater

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This week on the podcast we sit down with Andy Smith of Gray Duck Theater. Gray Duck Theater is a micro-cinema set to open in Rochester this October, offering a “mid-level experience of theater and cinema.” Today on the show we talk with this former teacher turned entrepreneur about:

·      His process getting to know Rochester as a new resident of the city.

·      His vision and goals for Gray Duck Theater to create a local cinema that fosters community and conversation around film.

·      Why Andy chose to open Gray Duck in Rochester.

·      What he wants the film-going experience to be like at the theater.

·      The current construction state of the theater.

·      His focus on community support for this new to Rochester business, especially for Gray Duck’s Indiegogo campaign, which just launched this Monday.

This week on the podcast we also check in with SCORE Southeast Minnesota mentor Barm Alsbrook with a quick sound bite about the importance of keeping good financial records.