Stephani Stephenson on mon 5 may 97
A group of us are starting a nonprofit clay studio and community education
facility. mission is to provide studio space for ceramists making post
school transition , those who cannot yet afford their own 'complete'
studio, and instruction for community students including some aimed at at-
risk youth,'parents and kids', etc. We are collecting info on other similar
projects..if you have experience, good or bad, with such
ventures..including starting a nonprofit, organization , funding,budget,
what worked, what didn't ,let us know! you can send e-mail direct as well.
1631 River Road,#8
Missoula Mt. 59801
Jonathan Blitz on wed 7 may 97
I wanted to write and share my experience of starting and operating a
studio co-op much like you described. Our goals were very similar to
those which you expressed in your message. We sought to provide a low
cost, well equipped studio space for recent grads and serious amateurs who
want to go pro. We operated under an umbrella organization which had a
marginally suitable space, and offered us the ability to tap into their
funding sources and non-profit status. We had the lofty goal of providing
space at $100.00 per month for 6 working artists. Our space was
approximately 3000 sq. ft. and had wheels, gas and electric kilns, and
other equipment for the use of the artists. Members were expected to
provide their own fixtures, and encouraged to purchase their own
While the studio was not an outright failure (among our successes was the
fact that 2 members went on to a professional career in pottery), the
studio never gained momentum and had many problems attracting members.
One of the factors that we overlooked was location. Our facility was
located in a mostly industrial neighborhood (and I use that term VERY
loosely) in Midtown St. Louis. Most members did not feel comfortable
using the space after dark. We also had many problems working with the
organization that was hosting us. I feel very strongly that
not-for-profit organizations are by their nature unsuitable for the
effective execution of the tasks which you propose to undertake.
The studio with which I am now associated is a small business which
operates a gallery, offers classes, and sells equipment and supplies. Some
of my advanced students have gone on to make very professional work, and a
few have gone on to become full time working artists. We charge a $98.00
fee for classes which entitles the student to unlimited use of the studio
during our regular business hours during the month of their class. In
this way we provide space and instruction for 30-50 students each month,
with the dilletantes subsidizing the more serious students. We are able
to provide a more well organized environment, and our equipment is of a
much better quality, and much more well maintained than in my previous
studio. It is my opinion that I am providing a better environment for
myself, and those who seek to become professional potters than in a
not-for-profit, or co-op organization.
I would also like to add that while I would never question your personal
convictions that more facilities are needed to mentor recent grads and up
and coming potters (I can't, because I share them), I am curious as to why
you feel that you wouldn't do better to simply work professionally
yourself and take on an apprentice. I have written to the list on
apprenticeship before, and as someone who was trained in an apprenticeship
with a working potter I am forever grateful for the one to one eductation
that I recieved. You can do more for one person that way than you can
ever do for a group of marginally commited studio-mates, and at the same
time nurture your own work.
Applied Aluminosilicates, Ltd.
8153 Big Bend
St. Louis, MO 63119
On Mon, 5 May 1997, Stephani Stephenson wrote:
> ----------------------------Original message----------------------------
> A group of us are starting a nonprofit clay studio and community education
> facility. mission is to provide studio space for ceramists making post
> school transition , those who cannot yet afford their own 'complete'
> studio, and instruction for community students including some aimed at at-
> risk youth,'parents and kids', etc. We are collecting info on other similar
> projects..if you have experience, good or bad, with such
> ventures..including starting a nonprofit, organization , funding,budget,
> what worked, what didn't ,let us know! you can send e-mail direct as well.
> Stephani Stephenson
> 1631 River Road,#8
> Missoula Mt. 59801