Friday Jan 21, 2022
Teresa Vander Meer-Chassé | Upper Tanana Creator and Visual Artist | January 3, 2022
Join Yukon Entrepreneur Ddhälh kït Nelnah, Teresa Vander Meer-Chassé, member of White River First Nation as they talk about their business as an Upper Tanana Curator and Visual Artist and shares what has happened since we last connected over a year ago at the start of the Covid-19 pandemic.
(1:00) Teresa is a sole proprietor of consulting, curating, and creating art for over 8 years, taking after their entrepreneurial mother. Their consulting and curating client-base is focused mostly on the Yukon, with their art-base being broader, both on the national and international stages.
(6:40) Public Health measures affected galleries and museums in a big way as they had to close and were not prepared to shift to an online model. Teresa’s career was put on pause due to not having space to curate in, with public spaces being closed, many of their planned art exhibitions were cancelled and they express feeling very lost at the beginning.
(8:29) Teresa discusses weighing their options, with there being very little work available during the first year of the pandemic and how they made the choice to pause their business in 2020 and go back to school for their Master of Fine Arts at Concordia University.
(9:54) Taking a look at their business model and through the restructuring of their website, Teresa has learned to not undersell themself and their work and how they are worth much more than they had been charging in the past. By focusing on their priorities in curating and the tutorial field, they have now created a service guide which helps to streamline inquiries and keeps their business more organized.
(13:45) Teresa shares how they now are in the ‘dreaming stage’ of their life and business and can see so many opportunities where they are at in their 2nd year of school. They share how choosing to go back to school during this time has opened many doors for them and how being able to focus more on curating, they see their business evolving to be more dedicated to gallery presentation versus commercial/retail pursuits.
(16:32) As part of a grant they received, Teresa has picked up skills in the digital space which they consider valuable such as creating social media content and gaining new followers. They were able to also focus on artistic work they hadn’t had an opportunity to do before, due to being too busy with their business including working on a moosehide during the summer.
(20:17) Making international headlines, the story of Rod and Ekaterina Baker (see cbc’s coverage here https://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/north/bakers-beaver-creek-vaccine-plea-1.6031121) came to Whitehorse, chartered a flight to Teresa’s remote community of Beaver Creek which was one of the first places to receive the covid vaccine due to its remoteness and vulnerability, pretended to work there in order to receive the vaccine, putting the community at risk. Teresa’s mother spoke up for the community, taking on an important leadership role in supporting Beaver Creek and educating others about the situation.
(23:15) Tourism everywhere has been impacted, especially hitting the Yukon hard, and this is something that worries Teresa, being that the tourism sector is where they got their start in their career. Tourism tends to always get hit first, with art and culture being so interconnected with it causes some huge problems. They think about the possibilities of bringing back and creating new public art attractions in Beaver Creek in the future, which used to be a huge spot for tourism in the north, but since the pandemic has had to close due to lack of visitors. Many Yukoners have not ventured to the remote communities, so there is an opportunity for the local economy to support one another.
(28:18) Teresa’s advice for emerging entrepreneurs? In the arts sector, it is very important right now to understand online. Things can be shut down at a moment’s notice and we can’t rely on exhibitions anymore, so think about different ways to get your content out there. Now is a good time to focus on honing your skills, creating new work, and trying things you’ve never tried before!
(32:34) Any world-shifting ‘Aha’ moments these days? Teresa’s was taking time for themself. Entrepreneurs tend to be very busy, with packed schedules, so this pandemic was a good opportunity to take a step back, but also forced many to have to be very creative to sustain themselves. For some entrepreneurs like Teresa, who do not have a bricks and mortar space, the way they worked didn’t necessarily change, being on a computer all day, but the kind and quantity of work and how they went about it absolutely did.
(34:21) What wellness practices keep Teresa grounded? They’re quick to point out that they’re still learning! Creating boundaries, such as turning their computer off at 10pm instead of working until midnight and unplugging for longer periods of time.
Thank you for watching!
To learn more about Teresa, visit their website at: www.teresavandermeerchasse.ca
To leave or reply to comments, please download free Podbean or
To leave or reply to comments,
please download free Podbean App.