A View From The Top

Thanks again for all those who made the Beaux Arts Ball a booming success. We made more than $7,000 which will go far to recover the cost of roof repairs and other improvements. We are already in the works for next year’s event. Not giving it away but it’s going to be a great time. Can we expect any less?

We continue to make improvements around The Studio. One glaring eyesore is the door and wall to the office that was rife with termites. You’ve seen the gouged out door frame and decayed windows — not a good look for new visitors — but  soon we hope to have an ADA-compliant chair lift to bypass the steps in the entry. We are taking estimates and pulling together a plan to install the new equipment and hope we can do it during the summer. We are still identifying grant sources for this project and, of course, any assistance toward this or any of these endeavors would be greatly appreciated.

Along with that, we are reviving the large kilns outside. It’s been too long since we put efforts in that direction and the residents are eager for a larger volume of work to be completed. Part of that project is to rebuild the shed that used to cover the kilns before Hurricane Rita came along and destroyed it. It has been a long time, but I think it will be a shot in the arm and a morale builder for the artists inside and outside of The Studio.

Anther improvement is to deal with the windows throughout the building, especially upstairs. Over the years they went from fairly functional to totally broken and, of course, Rita and Ike had a lot to do with that as well. New functional windows that can be closed and opened as needed would be a great boon to the residents on the second floor, as it is sweltering hot upstairs in the summer. Our exhaust fan will soon be functional again that will also aid in raising comfort levels–.

Lastly, we need to replace the heater that has gone bad upstairs. The exchanger has holes in it and cannot be used for fear of carbon monoxide poisoning. Although we’ve had a very mild winter, it won’t always be that way and there should be at least half of the year that artists don’t need to suffer the weather.

While I’m dreaming, I see a vision of expanded facilities that would provide more studios and better work spaces for foundry and fabrication, as well as a permanent space for our Bandnite events that have become an important institution for local originating musicians for more than 20 years. Enough with the dreaming already!!

A special thank you to Terri Fox for curating the “Party-cipation 2.0” exhibition for February’s show. Terri, who is the exhibition designer and manager at the Stark Museum of Art, along with her able and talented cohorts Amanda Hamilton Burkhart, Annmarie Ventura and curator of education Jennifer Restauri, transformed The Studio into a working studio for a day. They, along with printmaker Neal Pitak and Chris Presley, opened their talents and their hearts to future and would-be artists to try their hand at the task of creation.

And did they create! A steady stream of curious clients crowded the studio between 11 a.m. and 4 p.m., Feb. 4, to ply their skills and have some fun. Many have never come to the studio before and I was pleased to dispel the notion that artists are always aloof and introverted.

Part of the studio mission is to bridge the gap between artists and the local community, and Terri and her charges did a phenomenal job of crossing that bridge. Terri Fox was instrumental in the early ’90s in the transition from the White House building to our present location, handling much of the finances and logistics while not really having an office. I look forward to working with the Stark Museum again and I thank  the board  and benefactors of the Stark Museum for the chance to work with such an enthusiastic and knowledgeable group of people.

Change can be good — scary, but good. We would love to enjoy a steady stream of sameness, a sure bet that tomorrow will have no awkward surprises, no unexpected turns that puts us in a quandary of what best to do and how to act in the wisest way possible.

No one person can achieve that task without a wave of doubt and the weight of responsibility crushing their energy and verve. Few can stand up to that pressure nor should anyone be expected to do so. Many hands make easy work and many minds work better than one.

I want to thank all the people who put in their time energy and minds to make The Studio what it is, because no one person can do all the things that need to be done but each person has a definitive job that they and they alone can do.

Individuals working as community and community acting as one — that is the miracle we to are lucky  to experience daily as we contribute our skills to the greater good.

We are moving mountains.

Greg Busceme, The Art Studio, Inc. director