Today We Begin A New Journey With You

DATE:  October 24, 2020     CATEGORIES:  Somerville Media Center Partnership

A personal message from Artisan’s Executive Director as we launch “Artisan’s to Allston”, a $150,000 peer-to-peer fundraising drive.

Two years ago I joined this organization with a clear mandate: shore up our financial liabilities, strengthen our operations, and prepare the organization to address a huge unknown. That unknown was the answer to the question, “Where will Artisan’s be when our lease expires in 2021?” Today, I’m proud to share that we have an answer to that question, and we are in a wonderful position to seize the opportunity. I’d like to personally invite you to join us in the endeavor. Here’s a little bit of my story, to help you understand why I’m so passionate about this work.

Rendering of Artisan’s new home in Lower Allston courtesy of Analogue Studio.

One thing you won’t know about me is that I’ve had an incredible experience working in and around the field of democratic governance and reform over the last twenty years–it began long before I discovered “making” was a thing. This journey has taken me from Washington, DC to Botswana, Davos to Porto Alegre. I’ve had the joy of working and writing in the fields of participatory budgeting, online democracy, open innovation and more. What may turn out to be my last piece of writing on the subject was just published with a long-time mentor, friend and collaborator … and yet somehow I can’t shake the feeling that the foundations of our democracy–the constitution, our institutions, and our civic unity–are more at risk than ever.

The gap between who we are as individuals (beautiful creatures!) and the outcomes we produce collectively can be staggering.

One of the other truths about me is that the arts have long been a deep river flowing through my heart. Since my teen years with dreams of designing surf boards, I’ve created and exhibited mixed media and collage work from the Corcoran Gallery in DC to the US Cultural Institute in Cairo, the Dakar Bienale to my hometown in Vermont. I’ve had the joy of facilitating dozens of youth arts projects in 17 countries, including on behalf of the UN (WHO and UNESCO). In my twenties I founded an artist-run gallery in DC and never looked back–crazy days! It has been a thrill to try to bring my passion and experience in the arts to my work at the Asylum.

Today I’m especially passionate about the linkages between the arts, community empowerment, and democracy.

So I couldn’t be more thrilled to be sharing with you the fruits of this remarkable effort that I’ve been a part of for the last two years. For the next twelve months, Artisan’s Asylum will be embarking on a move and expansion into 52,500 SF of shared community fabrication facilities in Lower Allston. When complete, we’ll be able to support artistic expression, life-long learning, and creative entrepreneurship at unprecedented levels. I can’t wait to start delivering community impact as the region’s most inclusive and vibrant community fabrication hub. I believe that when we build these kinds spaces, when we create opportunities for diverse people to work alongside one another and collaborate, we are shoring up the foundations of American democracy.

Today I’m asking for your help to get us there.

We’ve just launched a capital campaign to raise $150,000 from you–our community and extended networks. This is about 21 percent of our total campaign of $715,000. To put our $150,000 “nut” into a little perspective, its .002 percent of the $70M estimated local economic impact we’ve generated over the last ten years. You can learn more about our campaign here. With $30,000 in pledges to match all gifts 1:1, there has never been a better time to invest in the Asylum. You can help us push past the finish line!

Rendering of Artisan’s new home in Lower Allston courtesy of Analogue Studio.

I believe that when people create together, when we work together toward common ends, our lives and our relations are nourished and enriched. This is why there is such a profound connection between making and democracy. As you know, we build it every day.

So! I’d like to personally invite you to join our campaign today. May I ask for your support in two ways:
1. Please make a donation of any amount; it will be a tremendous boost. You can make a donation here.
2. Share this campaign with others you believe are passionate about the arts, community development and democracy. This is a real opportunity to invest in lasting impact. Share our campaign here.

And of course, if you have a little free time to support this effort even further, you are absolutely welcome to be a fundraiser – join a team, or create your own page. You can even start a team! And then share within your networks, who share to their networks… and together we’ll build something amazing.

Thank you – I can’t wait to all work together to build an enduring asset in the City of Boston that serves as a community refuge for artistic expression, a platform for lifelong learning, and a launchpad to creative enterprises.

For further background on the project and organization goals for the next five year, please refer to:
• Our 2020-2025 Strategic Plan
• Our Artisans to Allston brief