Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Starting an Art Center

By the end of March , I am going to submit a proposal to lease this building as an art center  And I would like your input!  You can join this discussion on this blog or at my Facebook Page.







Here is some background and some of my ideas so far:

The building is located in the Hamline-Midway neighborhood in Saint Paul (my neighborhood).  It is a WPA building, built in 1938 and designed by Clarence "Cap" Wigington.  Wigington was the nation's first black municipal architect, serving as senior designer for the City of Saint Paul, Minnesota's architectural office for 34 years when the city had an ambitious building program. It is big enough to have two full size classrooms and one room for a gallery/event space.  It also has a small office space, 2 bathrooms and limited storage (and a flagpole on top).

Here are some of the questions I would like to address through the activities of this art center:
- What media can be taught best in this small site with limited storage?
- How and what can this center give to the artists who live in this immediate neighborhood?
- How and what can this center give to the neighborhood around it?
- What can the community give through this art center?
- How can individuals be taught to create beautiful artwork they care about?

If I acquire the building, it will be too late in the spring to create a full slate of classes for the summer.  So, this summer will be about trying different types of programs, getting feedback from the community and developing the fall schedule.  At this point, I am not too concerned with financials.  That will come later. 

I think that is where I will stop with the questions and thoughts, but you could add comments about any aspect of starting a new art center.

Who am I to start an art center?   In 1994, I started the education department at the Como Park Zoo and Conservatory and coordinated a fine art and botanical art program there for nine years.  The arts programming was very successful.  Since then, I have helped to create a city-wide beautification program called Blooming Saint Paul.  I have taught undergraduate art classes at Brooklyn College, Brooklyn, NY and at Bethel College, Saint Paul, MN.  I have taught community education art classes and workshops for the last 18 years.  To learn more and see my work, please check my website: www.markgranlund.com.

Thank you for posting your comments and thoughts here or at my Facebook Page

10 comments:

  1. here's what ~ limited storage can translate into "resources" ~ a library of thoughts and processes and objects that could be harvested for other building projects... the fruits of your labor produce seeds of inspiration.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks, swo. Yes a library of thoughts and process. I like that idea. Any thoughts on structure of such a library?

      Delete
  2. I'm an artist wannabe, nothing more at this point. I've taken a class at Mosaic on a Stick (off Snelling in our neighborhood) and at the Rush Creek Studio in Maple Grove.

    I'm looking for pottery classes and direction in our area/neighborhood. I'm currently signed up for a st paul community ed class for wheel pottery but would like more development in our neighborhood--the closest thing I've heard of available is in Mpls. So classes in pottery would interest me as well as having a place that could fire the work.

    Rush Creek Studio has an interesting business plan in that it is a coffee house, art studio where people can take classes and do their work on "studio time." In addition to this they have a nice gift shop where projects can be bought and sold which I think is unique and attractive.

    I would love to take classes at your new location and look forward to hearing more. It would be nice eventually to progress in my work and be able to market it on-site too.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi R Camp, thanks for the comment. This is a small building. I think the programming could quickly out grow the space, which is probably conducive to certain media. I feel the center will be forced to partner to provide the whole experience that people would like. Any thoughts on that?

      Delete
  3. My husband wants to learn to paint. We love Wet Paint on Grand, perhaps some kind of partnership with/sponsorship from them? Or some linkage to Hamline U's art department? Just brainstorming for now. But I think the idea has great potential. Are there other art centers that inspired the idea? I know there are some linked with community centers. My mother-in-law is active with (was president of for a time) Banfille Locke in Fridley, if you are familiar with that. Another thought: a lot of houses around here aren't big enough to have dedicated "art/project rooms"--could this include rental studio space? Or shared use of classroom space during off hours for a small fee? This neighborhood is very into sustainability. I could see a sustainable-art center getting a lot of support.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Kristine V., thanks for the good questions. I am familiar with Banfille Locke. Nice small space. Even smaller than this building, I think. They had nice complimentary programming to the gallery space, when I was familiar with them. Hmmm... rental studio space. Nice idea. Will have to see where that could fit in with classes and events. I would like to hear more about how an art center could be sustainable. I would LOVE to see this center survive on the reciprocal process of giving to/from the community around it. That is part of the nut I am trying to crack. Any thoughts?

      Delete
    2. This comment has been removed by the author.

      Delete
  4. Love this idea! I could envision space for community, classes, shop.

    An artist cooperative would be exciting. Access to other artists to learn from one another and space to sell/display wares.

    ReplyDelete
  5. Thanks Heidi. I have heard people talking about an artist's cooperative. How exactly would you see that working? Artists pay a membership fee and then they can run classes or use the space? These won't be art studios, they are much more like teaching spaces. Any thoughts? Are there artists out there, like me, that need a space to teach in?

    ReplyDelete
  6. I built and directed community arts centers in Ohio for 40 years. I now own and operate an art supply store. I just wanted to commend you for what you are trying to create. I wish you great success.

    ReplyDelete