I envision a venue for creating, showing and selling art–a consortium of ceramic artists, painters, photographers, mixed media artists, and writers.
In the front of the space, there’s a gallery with hand-made functional ware (teapots, mugs, jars, bowls, etc.), jewelry, as well as fine art pieces like sculptures, paintings, photography, and mixed media. Exhibitions would be juried and we’d host new openings monthly.
The back of the space is set aside as studio spaces for painting, ceramics, metal sculpture, as well as studio space for other creative ventures. The studio space is supported by membership fees, and provides a safe, inspiring place for artist members to create, as well as support and nurture one another. The studios have bathrooms, easels, work tables and stools, large sinks, locker space for ware and supplies, pottery wheels, glazes, stains, slips, a spray booth, two large gas kilns and two electric kilns. People visiting the gallery are invited to wander in to watch the creative process at work.
In the center of the space is a little cafe where the community of artists come to eat and get together during the day. There’s WIFI for writers and artists to access email and the internet while working on their laptops. The cafe’s menu is small and changes daily or seasonally. We also offer unusual, tasty specialty items and baked goods made by creative chefs that our clientele orders for gifts and take out.
There are regular monthly workshops in which artists share what they know with fellow artists. Workshops might focus on creativity, blocks, balancing art and motherhood or work, along with other issues that artists might have. Other workshops help “non-artists” get in touch with their creative side. Writers and poets also do readings and book signings.
Artopia members give back to their community. Art programs for school children help kids explore and connect to their creativity, because exposure to the arts shows far-reaching academic, personal, and social benefits. See Doing Well and Doing Good by Doing Art, by James Catterall, et al.)
Artopia’s monthly e-newsletter is chock full of art news and events. Different artists would be featured and interviewed. The newsletter is also sent to corporations, art buyers and artists to generate interest in and funds for the arts. Although that isn’t really needed, because everybody understands the value of the arts, and programs such as the one I describe have all the money needed to thrive.