The McAllen Chamber of Commerce has always looked for ways to improve the community we live in through programs that enhance the quality of life for our citizens. The Chamber has a long history of supporting the creative forces in our community by holding events and sponsoring projects that cater to artists and promote the encouragement of our unique culture.
The McA2 Creative Incubator is the most ambitious of these projects to date. The McA2 Creative Incubator, through the McAllen Chamber of Commerce, provides low cost artist studios, managerial advice, legal and technical support to qualified artisans with qualified projects. The incubator is housed in a building previously owned by our local community college, and has been made available thanks to an agreement between the McAllen Chamber of Commerce and the City of McAllen. The newly remodeled building contains 13 art studios, an exhibition space and a stage for performances.
The McA2 Creative Incubator helps our community by making it a better place to live. Aside from the aesthetic value the arts provide to the city, the McA2 Creative Incubator has economic potential as well. As Americans, we live in a very competitive global economy making sustainable economic development a huge challenge. Communities need to find new and interesting ways to attract business to any given area. More and more often in the current global community, corporations are looking at the culture of a city to decide whether it wants to move a business to that particular area. Increasing the quality and quantity of the arts increases the attractiveness of a community’s culture and makes the area more attractive to those businesses looking to relocate.
However, many artisans, writers, computer programmers, musicians, etc. lack the knowledge and resources to move beyond the conceptual stage of a business idea. To solve this, support and training are provided to McAllen Chamber of Commerce Creative Incubator Artists.
A director and assistant run the daily activities of the Incubator. They are responsible for assisting clients and managing the McAllen Chamber of Commerce Creative Incubator program. The Chamber compiled a list of requirements that tenants must complete in order to remain members of the Creative Incubator. All tenants must attend and participate in training that will prepare them to run their own businesses. This training includes business basics for entrepreneurs; financial reporting/profit & loss statements, Quick Books and other methods for financial accountability; marketing, information about facilities and menus for artisans; legal issues such as intellectual property rights, contracts, Internet laws, copyright laws, royalties for commissioned work; and incorporation procedures for individual artists or groups. In addition, the artisans are required to develop a business plan and commit to hold one art event or program per year that will promote both their businesses and the Creative Incubator.
Fifteen tenants currently occupy the incubator, including a computer graphics designer, sculptor, painters, photographers, drama instructors, a graphic artist, a furniture designer and a muralist. All the tenants of the McA2 Creative Incubator pay rent ranging from $100 to $200 per month, depending on the size of their studios. These low rates allow them to create works in a professional environment, paying prices well below what other professionals do.