Sunday, January 31, 2010

Update: WindhamARTS

Dear Members, Things are happening fast, we're working on getting communications out, and opening communication between members. Click "comments" below this post to add your thoughts, questions, ideas, etcetera.

Here’s what we know right now:

• we’re alive!! and will continue to serve the local arts community as a state-designated tier one Local Arts Agency

• all debts are paid, and rent will be paid through February, at least!

• WAIM wants us to stay in the building, and we want to stay! We are seeing a great deal of support for keeping our presence downtown, both inside our organization and in the community

• many have expressed a strong feeling that the newly renovated performance space upstairs should continue to be supported

• we are transitioning back to a volunteer-run organization, the original WAC format.

• members: this is OUR organization, and our chance to shape it. The board is there to support us in doing so, and there are openings for board members. • members and friends have stepped forward to take on the work, but there is a lot to do. The more the merrier! Contact us through

• come to meetings upstairs at WindhamArts every Wednesday night at 6pm, through February, as we figure out what’s next for us. These meetings are open to all of us, so bring your ideas, energy, and enthusiasm! We’ll do our best to finish by 7:30.

• while we are above water financially, we are looking into creative solutions to keep our expenses down and/or covered – there is talk about renting the storefront to Swiftwaters Artisan Coop or artists, for instance

• we have studio space available for rent!

• more updates to come ~

- written by members Amy Kalisher, Jean de Smet, your friendly member communication liaison team!


  1. Thank you Amy and Jean for setting this up this will be a wonderful addition to our communication process. Paula

  2. I'd like to add my appreciation for your setting up this blog, Amy and Jean.

  3. Based on today's email it sounds like the WAIM building is no longer an option for WAC. Given that, I still think the Nassiff's building may be the best option to explore. It's big enough to house WAC, SWAC, art studios, with lots of room for performances, etc. Although I have no idea what the rent would be like or what the renovations cost would be, I think it's worth the exploration to even see if it's available.

  4. Yes, Aline, it does appear that MAIM is kicking us out. Since Nat offered to guarantee the year's lease, and since we have poured tens of thousands of grant dollars for capital improvements into this space ove the last year, I feel that this is premature and unfair of MAIM. WAIM is MAIM in my mind right now!!!!

  5. WAIM may be able to rent out the studio spaces in the future. But, the spaces will not have the same attraction they once had to excellent local artists before we began renovations last year. Without WindhamARTS' sponsorship, the space is unlikely to be the hub of exciting artistic efforts and opportunities it had been. I, for one, will not stay if my studio is no longer part of WAC.

  6. Is the Nassiff building an option?

  7. It is not true that WAIM is not an option. I is true that it is not an option to rent that space alone now. There is a meeting next week to further discuss possibilities of shared rental. There are also conversations we are having with the town about space there as well. We are looking at any and all viable options, and we will soon have to figure out which option suits our needs best.

  8. Paula, I think this is the part of the recent update that Aline and I were reacting to:

    THIS JUST IN: WAIM (our landlord) is actively seeking a new tenant, and will likely use the opportunity to seek a higher rent. We may not have a choice in whether we stay or leave.
    WAIM has assured us that artists renting studios WILL NOT lose their spaces.

  9. Please, please, Sarah. Softer words for our friends. WAIM has been a staunch supporter of WindhamArts and continues to be so now.

    We are in the middle of the worst economic down turn since the Great Depression. WAIM serves people who are in great need. It needs to focus on its programs and spend its precious resources on the people it serves. The art space situation needs to be stabilized and cannot continue to be a detraction from the needy of the Windham area.

    All that being said, WAIM is still actively looking to help WindhamArts find a way to remain in the building. Nothing is certain, however.

    Please understand too that the offer my wife and I made was not a donation, loan, or gift. It was simply an offer to lift the property management tasks off WAIM and provide a year of stability to the arts community that resides in the building. As I have repeatedly said, we are not wealthly. We are doing this with moneys that are otherwise destined for our retirement account. It is a significant risk to us. As a result, we would need to see the space profitably sub-rented. Based on my conversations with community members over the past few weeks, I have had growing doubts that in the current economy, such will be the case. As a result, we may be less help than WAIM.

    This is a tumultuous time is the country's history. It is in times line these that we need to pull together and lean on each other for support. WAIM supports WindhamArts' mission but must do so in the context of meeting its own mission. I respect and honor that.

    Who was it that said that the only permanence is change? We are in change and will be for some time to come. It has often been the case that from change comes the greatest art. Let's hope too that we see great art for some time to come.

    Thanks for your continued support.


  10. Great discussion! I'm glad to see so much passion about WindhamArts. It's very inspiring that so many people care so much about this organization.

    I'm sorry if my update wasn't clear - I didn't mean to imply that WAIM is kicking us out, or doesn't want the best for us.

    It's this simple: since we aren't sure we can come up with the rent consistently, they have to figure out a way to get that money.

    Keep in mind, WAIM is a nonprofit. They are not motivated by greed. Like Nat said, the money they make goes for food and shelter for the neediest in our community. This is, and should always be, their highest priority.

    Sara, I know this is a hard chapter, I feel your pain. Hang in their with us. The story is not over yet!

  11. Aline, we don't know yet exactly what will happen with the current space. It may be late this week before we know more from WAIM.

    That said, Nassiffs did come up in discussion at the last member meeting. It would not be premature to inquire. Feel free to do so! This would be good information to have as we figure out what's happening with the current space and what kind of cash flow we can generate to pay rent in the first place.

  12. I am hoping that everyone concerned with WAC checks this blog regularly. I want you to know that I am unable to sit the gallery this week for personal reasons.
    Hopefully, any information that needs to be shared will appear on the blog.
    Thanks, Sara

  13. Thanks for the heads up Sarah. I'm still working on the phone situation and hope by the next meeting to be able to report back on how best to get the phone covered without the need to have someone office sit.

    Be warm and safe in this bad weather.