Barrel and Flow announces new initiative to foster collaborations between artists and small businesses | Pittsburgh City Paper

Barrel and Flow announces new initiative to foster collaborations between artists and small businesses

Barrel and Flow Fest announced art + biz, a new initiative to connect creators and business owners for future collaborations.

On June 27, the festival, which highlights Black brewers and was formerly known as Fresh Fest, created art + biz as a way to provide "year-long support for artists, which is an expansion of what Barrel & Flow is already doing with our festival,"  according to art + biz project manager Cat Bruno. The program was launched with funding from Arts Equity Reimagined and the Millvale-based community development nonprofit New Sun Rising.

Bruno goes on to say that the initiative is "designed to bridge the art and business sectors in a collaborative way that benefits independent artists (of all scopes) and small businesses throughout the year and beyond the festival."

Collaborations can range from logo design to ads and jingles, and includes payment for the artists involved. According to the Barrel and Flow Fest website, art + biz provides a stipend for work performed by musicians, writers, artists, and designers for small local businesses.

"A local restaurant might need a new logo, menu, artwork for their walls, or some music," says Bruno. "We want to show them how much artistic talent Pittsburgh has. We also want creators to understand the necessity of a business acumen, from invoicing to networking to reliability. We’d like to help artists think like business owners and help business owners realize how the art sector can improve their sales."

Overall, Bruno says the focus is to "connect artists with paid gigs and to make certain that they are paid equitably."

"We also want to help small and indie businesses, who often do not have extra funds for creative design projects, entertainment, interior decorating work, etc.," says Bruno. "We have been on both sides of that, as a small business in need of artists and as independent artists in need of paid assignments. With art + biz we hope to offer opportunity and connections in sustainable ways that allow both sectors to flourish."

There is also an art + biz scholarship fund for graduating seniors who are BIPOC (Black, Indigenous, or a person of color), reside in Western Pennsylvania in the counties of Allegheny, Beaver, Westmoreland, Butler, or Washington, and plan to pursue post-secondary education in the arts. Five $1,000 awards will go to chosen applicants to study a wide range of creative fields covering the fine arts, graphic or digital design, music, dance, and more.

Applications for the art + biz scholarship will be accepted until Wed., June 30.  You can apply by visiting their website.

Artists interested in the art + biz program are encouraged to email

The 2021 Barrel and Flow Fest will take place from Sept. 10-12 at Southside Works.