A few years ago we found our home in Aurora, IL. This in an of itself might not be that big of a deal but we had been searching for 19 long years for that place where we belonged, where we were embraced.
Aurora has the feel of a small town community but it is actually the second largest city in Illinois, crazy right?
We found in Aurora a community of creatives, with artists from all walks of life and supporters of the arts that embraced the uniqueness artists can bring.
We were in love with this place and for the first time in 19 years we felt like we belonged, truly and sincerely belonged.
So, we packed up our lives and dove right in to this community, planting roots and working to make it an even better place. I moved my studio downtown and my husband Jason became a board member for Aurora Downtown, chairing the events committee.
A little over two years ago Jason and I also started Emergent, a fine art gallery, geared toward bringing outstanding art to Aurora for First Fridays as well as providing a venue for artists to have their work presented professionally, some for the first time ever. Our goal from the onset was for Emergent to be run like a non-profit taking no money from the artists and I am happy to say we were able to do so covering all costs out of pocket and presenting what many have said is one of the best galleries in town. We brought artists to Aurora from all over the country as well as showcasing our gifted local artists.
We have both been passionate about Encouraging and Inspiring artists for years. I have both a BFA and an MFA and have been teaching and mentoring young artists (our own kids included) for as long as I can remember. All this coupled with our love of Aurora and its emerging art scene, the idea of an Art Center in Aurora Downtown planted itself in our hearts and minds - as a place where creative community can exist, a co-working space for creatives. An Art Center that is to be a place where artists can learn, not only the techniques for creating beautiful and thought provoking work, but a place where they can be mentored on how to be successful business owners (something most art schools neglect to teach, unfortunately).
So, after thinking and praying and thinking and obsessing and thinking some more, we gathered together an outstanding board of directors (Amy Song,
Gina Salamone, Jason Arthur, Steve Ducharme & Tim Frederick) from within our community who have the same passion for Aurora and the growing arts community as us. Together we incorporated our non-profit Art Center as...
Through some awesome connections Jason has been fortunate to establish in Aurora, we have access to an amazing architectural gem of a building with a very generous offer for lease terms. At this point, we need to come up with the capital to get a few things set in place for the Art Center and for renovations inside the building itself. The bonus - every dollar we put into renovations will be deducted from our rent; how amazing is that!
We want to lock down our lease and get the renovations started before the end of the year so we can have our first Gallery opening in February of 2018, with the 2nd and 3rd phases happening over the following months.
Our humble request of you is to thoughtfully consider supporting our mission to grow, equip and support the arts in our amazing city. Our initial goal, before major renovations begin, is to raise $15,000. This amount would allow Stolp Island Art Center to:
-Finish the legal aspects of the non-profit corporation
-Prepare architectural renderings of the building
-Get our print materials up and running
-Start renovations on the first phase of our build out, (which will be our gallery, Emergent, as well as a finished space for further fundraising events.)
We thank you for your support.
Kit & Jason Sunderland
On behalf of Stolp Island Art Center
and the arts in Aurora
Photos by Charles Becket & Jason Arthur