Neighborhood Fiber Co .’s production and community mission has outgrown its current location, and Karida decided to purchase a larger building in the Midway neighborhood of Baltimore. This new location offers more square footage, ADA-compliant access for customers, and increased space for additional classes and workshops. In addition, the new space is under construction to bring its gas and electric utilities up to code, and improve ventilation systems so that Team NFC can more safely work with dye pigments (as well as decrease the risk of Covid infection). Once these critical renovations are completed, cosmetic construction can begin on retail store space, class spaces, and outdoor areas.
Not only will the new location provide the room and facilities Neighborhood Fiber Co. needs to sustain its level of production, but the building will also better support NFC’s community mission of incubating arts access in Baltimore. The new classroom spaces will mean that it can add more workshops that are open to the surrounding community to their schedule and its famous kettle-dyeing classes. In addition, as travel becomes possible with decreasing Covid rates, NFC can invite more nationally and internationally renowned fiber artists and support their work. Karida is also planning to begin mentorships for small-business owners and burgeoning fiber artists by allowing them to use equipment and space at NFC.
A great example of Karida’s community focus is Baltimore Youth Arts , a creative entrepreneurship and job training non-profit that provides artistic and professional opportunities to young people, especially those involved with the justice system. BYA will become a sub-renter in the new location. In addition to using it as an administrative headquarters, BYA apprentices will have access to the facilities and learn fiber arts skills. Another reason Neighborhood Fiber Co. wants to finish its renovation project as soon as possible is so the building can be used for Baltimore Youth Arts’ 2022 fall after school program.
The vision was always to have enough space so that Neighborhood Fiber Co. could expand its operations and have the kind of facility that would work for projects and educational programs with Baltimore Youth Arts and other youth-based organizations in the area. The problem is that since this project started (and Karida invested hundreds of thousands of dollars into the new building), the costs of renovations have more than doubled.
Donations to this GoFundMe will go toward construction and labor costs to create a functional workspace and a welcoming creative hub in the Midway neighborhood. The sooner Neighborhood Fiber Co. can relocate, the sooner it can operate to its full potential and fulfill its community arts mission.
For more information, check out this blog post from Benjamin Levisay, CEO of Stitches Events and leader of the fundraising team.