Over the weekend of July 14th, the main water supply pipe to our building burst, and ArtWorking’s studio suffered major flood damage. Due to the severity of damage, we are being forced to relocate as soon as possible, and are now looking for a new place to call home.
ArtWorking is a Madison-based nonprofit that supports artists and entrepreneurs with developmental disabilities. With over 11 years of experience, ArtWorking has become the largest and most successful program of its kind in the state of Wisconsin.
ArtWorking provides opportunities for individualized and diverse artmaking practices, provides assistance with small business ownership, and mentors business owners in product research and development. We have an intensive annual calendar of exhibitions and events that help provide shared access to diverse marketplaces, while supporting our stakeholders in preserving their own identities. This year alone we are hosting or participating in 25 events and exhibitions, sponsoring 8 artist residencies, attending 3 conferences, and selling work in 4 local shops. Through these initiatives, and with the help of a group of committed staff, volunteers, and interns, we have helped to cultivate a productive, cooperative and enriching community for our artists and entrepreneurs.
Even as we are currently “homeless”, ArtWorking continues to provide creative, satisfying and safe supports, in a variety of ad-hoc locations around Madison, Wisconsin. However, the loss of the studio space, administrative offices, and storage space for artwork and art products has severely compromised our programming. While we are temporarily displaced, some artists have been forced to suspend services, given the impossibility of providing highly specialized adaptive supports in new and foreign work places. This has a destructive impact on the artists’ individual businesses, as well as the nonprofit as a whole.
Not only was original art and products damaged in the flood, but now our access to the art and products will be compromised, as things are moved into boxes and storage units. This directly affects our ability to successfully promote, exhibit and sell our constituents work and products. Additionally, because we are now off-site for the entirety of the work day, any preparations and activities related to relocating are happening outside of normal business hours. This is causing a huge increase in staffing hours, even while revenue falls.
Ideally, ArtWorking would like to expand into a new location, in order to meet the steadily growing demand for our services, but relocation will be costly. Any new space will need significant modifications in order to be fully accessible to artists of all abilities. Also, because of the high degree of technical specialization we offer, build-out and customization of a new space will be costly to plan and implement.
We are committed to continuing to provide services for our resident artists and business owners, some of whom we’ve had the joy of working with for more than a decade. We would also like the opportunity to serve more of the many capable and creative individuals with disabilities who would like the opportunity to partner with us now and in the years to come. Our success over the past eleven years proves that it is a possibility, but we need your support in order to make it a reality.