Beloved followers and friends of the Drawing Room, thank you for being a part of this journey. I started this campaign last year, due to the COVID pandemic and worldwide shutdown, to save the space I've built around giving exposure artists within the neighborhood they are nestled within, connecting them with neighbors, other businesses and galleries, and happenstance discoverers. Amazingly, we made it to half our goal - which helped me keep the space secured during the darkest of times. COVID has brought many silver linings to this little art space as right now, it has never been a better time to have a store font in a "walking" neighborhood. I've met more artists, neighbors and collectors in these past few months since re-opening, bringing incredible opportunities to me and many of the artists who've been drawn into the fold. These opportunities are small but have impact and just as we are starting to launch into bigger things, the world once again has come to a screeching halt. This time, for ME. I collided with a vehicle last Sunday, March 28th on my bike, sending me to the trauma center at SFGeneral. The following day I surgery to repair what I can only describe as an exploded ankle. I am so unbelievably lucky, as I suffered no other serious injuries, though am super sore and very tender in parts. I arrived home on Thursday to recover for the next MONTH. Let me be completely truthful and tell you that I did not SIP for more than 1 week last year, as I wanted to be sure my space didn’t get overrun or vandalized. I worked everyday in the studio - and got there on my bike, which is a nearly 5 mile ride each way as I live across town. My dedication to the sanctuary I built superseded my ability to stay at home and hide inside. I have ridden over 1800 miles since last March getting to/from the studio and around in general as I don’t have a car anymore. I have had no issues or incidents until a month ago when I was assaulted by a man in a Mazerati SUV coming off the Octavia ramp into the city. He charged up on me in the bike lane, going up a hill nearly running me down and then when reaching the top of the hill, he rolled down his window and threw a frozen water bottle at my face, hitting my glasses, splitting open my nose and giving my head a pretty swift tap. This was a hit and run type thing - no license plate, or ID of any sort was obtained. The case is still active and open and thankfully - he did NOT hit me square on and my helmet and glasses protected me as well. Now this.
This accident was to no real fault of either the driver or me, but rather the result of the blind spots caused by the roadblock signs across the city, that were installed last year for SIP to block off roads to cars and pedestrians. These huge signs were secured by sandbags and now, a year-ish later, those bags have disintegrated into slippery and vast puddles of loosely strewn sand across the streets. Long story short, neither the driver nor I saw one another - because of the sign, and when I saw him and tried to stop, I hit that sand and slid straight into his right front wheel - with my ankle, my body going over the hood and onto the ground in front of the car. I’m tremendously lucky, am in amazing health, apparently, and have a million guardian angels as this could be a very different tale.
I have adapted this GFM to help keep the rent paid and the doors open these next couple of months while I recover and rely on my village to help me do so. Art is a personal experience and the magic of the Drawing Room is in discovering art that moves you in the real, made by local people who are masters of their craft and likely someone you may get to meet, hence the storefront model. I also have an amazing assistant, Nick Maltagliati whom I rely on for social media and website/admin stuff, but am now needing him to help cover the gallery more and running the show. I don’t pay him not nearly what he is worth but everything I possibly can and now I will need him more than ever.
Please consider giving here, or better yet, go to our online store and find a piece of art that moves you and BUY IT. That is how this tiny little business, inevitably will survive. You can pick it up in person or we can ship it.
Thank you in advance for the love and support - please share this widely as word of mouth is the most tool we have right now.
The Drawing Room is a small (700 sq ft) community art studio and gallery, located in the heart of the Mission District and dedicated to giving exposure to local, emerging San Francisco based artists. It has been open for 15 months and in that time has grown its community to well over 120 artists and makers. Hosting exhibitions, workshops, performance events and open studios, The Drawing Room has become a neighborhood hub for artists, business owners, and the local community.
New opportunities find their way into The Drawing Room constantly. Exactly a year after first opening, I opened an additional temporary space (which I call the "Annex") for the Drawing Room to use for larger exhibitions. This space, which I only pay utilities for is currently hosting "Women Rising ", an exhibition of over 100 San Francisco-based women artists. At its core, The Drawing Room hopes to build momentum and collectively with the artists involved by snowballing our marketing endeavors and bringing more opportunities and supporters to these exhibitions in the hope that they will collect, invest, and support the San Francisco art ecosystem.
Due to COVID-19, The Drawing Room and Annex had to close doors on March 3. The "Women Rising" show installed and ready to open to the public March 7th had to be canceled, as well as the following Sunday Series Artist Talks in which many of the exhibiting artists could have shared words about their works and practice with the public. Also canceled were the reading and recording of Giorgio de Chirico's poetry hosted by the Center for the Art of Translation , a spoken word event by Samba musician and poet Maria Serafín and various educational and instructional workshops designed specifically for the exhibiting artists. Fortunately, I have procured the annex space through April, and the hope is to re-open before then.
This is great news but the loss of potential income from the cancellation of events and loss of sales makes covering rent and expenses for April and beyond nearly impossible. Despite the moratorium on commercial evictions, that rent will eventually come due - and I need help in securing these spaces until this crisis calms and visitors can see the exhibitions and events. This rent cannot currently be paid (approximately $3500/month), nor can the people who work to keep the Drawing Room open be appropriately compensated.
Precautionary measures to protect our communities and keep us safe, while necessary, have decimated The Drawing Room’s business. Without help now, the impact of this will have dire long-term consequences for The Drawing Room. We are in a desperate position. I am applying for aid, grants and federal, and state assistance. We are also working frantically, to pivot to online marketplaces and sales portals but it is not enough nor is it happening fast enough. Bills are due. Government aid is still being worked out. It is unclear what kind of assistance will be provided for the many of us who do not qualify for unemployment or other standard government programs. Mayor Breed has just announced funding resources for artists and art-related business/organizations which is hopeful and a relief, however it will take time to apply and hopefully receive any funding. I am builidng a commerce site that will be launching this week through the Drawing Room website (www.drawingroomsf.com) as well as posting all of my own work online so if collecting is something you are into and you have the means to help, then buy art NOW. The catalog will be available online shortly.
I am seeking a minimum of $15,000 from this GoFundMe project to pay rent and help support the The Drawing Room and The Annex to secure the spaces and the business afloat until I can once again resume gallery visits, workshops, and stabilize our online marketplace endeavors. These funds will support the Drawing Room and myself while I work steadfastly to keep the business alive and the artists supported, apply for grants and aid, and build a better online shop.
Please help me, Renee DeCarlo, do what I do - which is make art about life, create spaces for people to come together and connect through art. The Drawing Room fosters openness, inclusivity, connection, and above all - inspiration. Please help me keep this going and push it into the next chapter - which has yet to be written, but one that will most certainly be a new and exciting one. When this crisis passes - people will need creative spaces like the Drawing Room and The Annex and the human connection they foster more than ever. I am seeking help to cover expenses and survival for the next 3 months...or longer to ensure that this place, that is so dear to so many, will be here when we can once again engage face to face, hand to hand.
Thank you for supporting me and the many artists that The Drawing Room and its Annex.
Currently on exhibit at the Drawing Room Gallery, works from 13 different SF based artists.
The Annex space with the current Women Rising exhibition.
Photo courtesy of Erica Marquez of Mission Local taken just a month ago. I was feeling very excited and optimistic for our Women Rising exhibition that was about to open and all the good energy that brought this show and these artists all together.
- Sharon Steuer
- Robin and Lorri Seloover Nelson
- Constance Matthiessen
- Karen Maier
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