Friday, April 9, 2010

Opportunities and Annoucements

THIS JUST IN: Actually, there's something new coming over the transom at WindhamARTS every day, in fact, several a day, but unfortunately there's no staff at the moment to disseminate all this great information about events and artist opportunities, and anyway, forwarding each announcement via email would overwhelm your inbox.

To help you get the word out, here's what I propose:

PUT YOUR ANNOUNCEMENTS IN THE COMMENTS section of this post. Directly below these words, read what others have posted, post everything (arts related only please) that you want the world to know! (Don't see it? Click on "COMMENTS" below. Now you see it!)

IF YOU WANT TO RECEIVE AN EMAIL notification every time someone adds a comment, click on “subscribe by email” on the right directly below the “POST A COMMENT” window.

If someone wants to take on the project of creating/resurrecting a WindhamARTS e-newletter, by all means, your help would be welcome! Contact me, I can set you up with all the info you need.

Saturday, April 3, 2010

Exciting Developments

I've been too busy the last couple weeks to sit down and update all of you, but I've finally got a moment and there is big news to report:

WindhamARTS on Main Street

WAIM accepted the proposal! Which means WindhamARTS is still in the building on Main Street, sharing office space with Swiftwaters Artisans' Cooperative (SWAC), The Cooperative Hub (Coop-Hub), and the Digital Youth Cooperative (DYC). The studios are fully rented, including four new artists (I am one of them - I'll be managing the space in exchange for my studio), and SWAC is moving their shop into the gallery. WAIM will be working with us to create a plan to share use of the Annex with the community at large. The common space on the studio side upstairs is available now to be booked for meetings and classes - contact me for more details.

About the Gallery

Though we will all miss the gallery, it is wonderful that WindhamARTS can support Swiftwaters by offering up this space, as their shop provides a prime opportunity for local artisans to market their works. (You can learn more about how to join SWAC here). And don't forget we still have the Annex, and there is also ArtSpace down the street, which has a very nice gallery open to community use that is nowhere near booked. 

New Kids on the Block

The Coop-Hub and DYC are both new ventures led by individual recipients of Access Agency's "Break Out of Poverty" grants. The Coop-Hub will be a resource center offering mentoring, financing, and other assistance to newly forming Cooperative business ventures. They are planning a festival in the fall to showcase both Cooperatives and the Arts in our region. DYC plans to employ and train young people in order to form a digital media business serving local businesses. Their first project will be web design.

Nuts and Bolts

For the next two months, WindhamARTS will continue to hold the lease while supporting the formation of a new organization representing everyone in the space. This organization will sign a six-month lease agreement for June through November. After that, we should be in good shape to resume making agreements for a year at a time.


Once everyone is moved in and settled, we'll be putting together a grand reopening celebration. You're invited to the party! Stay tuned for the official date and plan. Thanks to WAIM and everyone who worked hard putting this together, it's been hard work but also a lot of fun.

Future Possibilities

Access Agency recently put out a call for proposals for another round of grants. In the spirit of WindhamARTS' mission to support the arts and culture in our region, and in support of the whole gang of us in the building as of April 1st, I submitted my own Letter of Intent outlining my hope to see this space become a permanent center for arts and creative community development in downtown Willimantic. My goal is to maintain and grow this venture as an affordable incubator-style community art and creative business center for the entire region. Do you want to be part of bringing this vision into reality? Have a vision of your own that you'd like to see be part of it? I'd love to hear from you!

Thursday, March 18, 2010

The Latest and the Greatest

Hello all, here’s your latest WACtacular. Post your comments below:

  • A proposal has been sent to Victoria Nimirowski, director of WAIM for shared rental of the space currently occupied by WindhamARTS alone.
  • Victoria and I spoke about this proposal. She is very enthusiastic, is bringing the proposal to committee, and will hopefully have an answer very soon.
  • WindhamARTS, Swiftwater Artisans, the Coop-Hub, and individual artists have participated in the discussion. Other dynamic individuals and organizations involved in the arts and culture of our region are entering the mix.
  • We are proposing to begin this rental agreement April 1st.
  • If you’re interested in getting involved, in renting studio space or shared office space, email me – amy at – and I’ll give you the details.
  • Stay tuned for new life for the arts at 866 Main!


  • We’re waiting on news of a grant from CEDF
  • This funding would allow WAC to regroup with professional guidance, help the Board of Directors analyze their roles, goals, and functionality, rebuild the web site to best serve the arts & cultural community, and solicit and make a plan for how to move forward into a bright and vibrant future.
  • We should hear the (hopefully good) news any day now. Again, stay tuned – you’ll hear it here first folks!


  • People are asking about renewing membership. (All memberships were up for renewal in January, but no membership drive was undertaken at that time.)
  • Without staff and with the space question up in the air, it is difficult to guarantee the old membership benefits, hence the delay.
  • Membership fee/benefits structure is up for discussion and may change. One proposal is to raise the cost of membership, one is to eliminate it altogether. There are all kinds of possibilities in between and much to take into consideration about how best to serve the arts community. In any case, good things are happening and we want you to be a part of it.
  • In the meantime, consider offering a Vote of Confidence by making a donation to WindhamARTS. We’ll keep track of your donations, and, if/when dues are once again solicited, credit your contributions accordingly.
  • You can donate via Paypal (by pressing the donate button here) or send us a check made out to WindhamARTS Collaborative and mail it to: WindhamARTS Collaborative, P.O. Box 472, Willimantic, CT 06226. Either way, we welcome your comments!
  • On a personal note: Thank you to those who have already stepped forward with donations. I take these as a personal compliment, a vote of confidence and support for all the volunteer efforts and hopeful visions for the arts in our region that are being carried forward by me and other long-time supporters of WindhamARTS. If financial support isn't possible for you right now, your ideas, visions, hopes, and pats on the back of are also very welcome and appreciated.

Yours truly,

Amy K

Friday, March 12, 2010

New Life for 866 Main?

This past Wednesday, March 10th, a follow-up meeting to the "Community Arts Center Summit" was held at WindhamARTS. With input by individual studio artists and others, representatives from WindhamARTS, SWAC, and the Coop-Hub drew up a proposal to together rent the space that until recently was leased from WAIM by WindhamARTS alone. 

Another meeting will be held this coming Wednesday, March 17th at 6pm to follow up and tackle some of the unresolved details. WAIM has been contacted; we are awaiting their response. I think it's safe to say there is excitement in the air. An email I received from one of Wednesday's meeting attendees began with, and this is an exact quote: 
I will, of course, keep you posted.

Thursday, March 4, 2010

Board Meeting Report

The WindhamARTS Board of Directors met last night, Wednesday, March 3rd. Karl Norton, Kim Radda, Paula McNally, and Maureen Crowley were present, as was I, Amy Kalisher, at Kim Radda's request, reporting on what's happening with the 866 Main Street building and the exploration into collaborative rental. 

Discussion included:
  • Open positions on the Board of Directors, including that of Treasurer, plans to pursue filling these positions.
  • My offer to manage the building on behalf of WindhamARTS in exchange for studio space, if a rental agreement can be reached.
  • Kim will pursue legal advice for next steps toward potentially taking me up on this offer - making appropriate lease agreements, the proper way to go about hiring/appointing a Building Coordinator, and other questions about next steps as an organization in transition - for instance, how to go about creating a place for member representation on the Board.
  • The Board did officially okay me to represent them in discussions with WAIM and potential rental collaborators, and to include two of our three computers as part of the office-sharing offering. 
  • Agreement to work toward freeing Peter Polomski from the directorial responsibilities he continues to bear because no one has yet to take his place. (Mostly this has to do with bookkeeping. Since there is no staff now, this mainly consists of building management.)
  • Questions about the meaning, benefits, and responsibilities of membership at WindhamARTS and how to involve current, past, and possible-future members in the discussion - stay tuned for more on this soon.
  • Transitional planning - next steps toward securing an appropriate Peer Advisor for an eight-hour consultation (a $100 expense).
  • Evil schemes to take over the world.
Wait -- WHAT??? Not that last one.

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Meetings Galore

The WindhamARTS Board of Directors will convene Wednesday, March 3rd. There is no plan for a member meeting that night.

There will be an open meeting to further discuss the potential of shared space on the following Wednesday, March 10th at 6pm at WindhamARTS. All are welcome.

Stay tuned for more updates!

Sunday, February 28, 2010

The Summit and Beyond

For those just tuning in, WindhamARTS hosted a meeting on Friday afternoon, 2/26, to explore the potential of sharing space for arts and cultural organizations in our region. Representatives and members of WindhamARTS, Swiftwater Artistan Cooperative, The Co-op Hub, Wrench in the Works, WAMH, the Young Poets, Artists Open Studios, Artists in the Country, Whispering River Gallery, EastCONN, UCONN Public and Community Engagement, Willimantic Advocates Make it Happen (WAMH), Cafemantic, and individual artists and community members were present, as well as Roger Adams from the Windham Chamber of Commerce and Neal Beets, Windham Town Manager.

We discussed the needs and resources of each group, reviewed what we know about space available, and explored the potential and challenges of sharing a location. Several groups acknowledged a current or upcoming need for retail, gallery, performance, meeting, and/or office space. These groups also expressed interest in further discussion about collaborative space. Each will gather details about their current resources, and the desires and concerns of their constituencies. A second meeting is scheduled for Wednesday, March 10th at 6 PM at WindhamARTS. (This will replace the regularly scheduled WAC member meeting for that week and is again open to the community. Feel free to spread the word).

Bottom line: it seems clear that there is real potential for collaboration, and that the group that meets next week will likely work toward a proposal to lease 866 Main Street. Please click "comments" below to read and post questions, additions, ideas, and corrections. Your perspective is valued.

PS. A note from Amy: I had intended to bullet-point a list of important information coming from the meeting, but, to be frank, time is short and I'd rather spend it scheduling meetings in order to move forward with this idea. If there is something you feel is important to share, please post it in the comments section below.