Mission Statement Resident Artists Studio Rentals

Inaugural Post

Skep Space Board Members and Resident Artists gather with our new landlord on the day we signed the lease of Skep 2.0.

It is the last day of 2023, a momentous year for Skep Space, and a fitting time to post our first blog entry, something we’ve imagined for months.  No time like the present, as this time between Christmas and New Year’s is a natural break in the rhythm of my teaching and family life.  One consistent behavior I do annually is pause and reflect over the blessings of the year while looking eagerly to the future;  I have to admit that the experiment we call Skep Space has much to celebrate.  

Some of you may know our origin story: Lisa, Molly and I formed an artist group in late 2021, intending to build community and support for women artists.  We met monthly, offering critique and feedback on each other’s work, shared opportunities to show our work and of course, wine and snacks.  In June of 2022 Molly and I shared a booth at Art on the Grand, and used the chance to invite women artists to join our group.  At that fair, we entered into conversation with the President of the Farmington DDA Board, who mentioned a recently vacated city-owned house and wondered if we could install a creative pop up there.  We put our heads together and quickly got to work, forming a non-profit artist incubator, to provide studio space for artists, workshops and community opportunities.  

So the great experiment began.  We approached the place like a blank canvas, and made it thus by removing wallpaper and carpet, creating a clean white box that we could make anything we could imagine. Quickly all the studios were rented to an accomplished group of artists.  We opened our doors monthly for First Friday open studios and provided programming for the community.  We assembled a talented group of board members from varied backgrounds, each bringing a unique skill set to build our community and further our mission.  We knew we were working against the clock right from the start.  The city promised we had 12-18 months in the space, during which time we threw ideas at the wall to see what stuck.  We had our share of hits, misses and really cool experiences, and connections.  If you’ll indulge me, I’ll provide a brief list beyond what I’ve already stated, of what we accomplished in our first year at 33104 Grand River Avenue:

  • Established both Resident and Member Artist Programs
  • Established a weekly Writers’ Group
  • Provided professional development opportunities for Skep Artists
  • Hosted a Holiday Pop-Up Show
  • Workshops including Vision Boarding, Artist’s Way and Artist-led studio workshops.
  • Celebrated Pollinator Month in May-planted a pollinator garden and offered a free seed library
  • Hosted a Free Little Library
  • Hosted Plus Skateboarding 20 Year Anniversary show and silent auction.

It was a blast and a dream come true to build this community.  As they say, all good things must come to an end and the city kept true to their promise of when we would have to vacate the premises.  Thus began the search for a new space.  It didn’t take long to find a great solution, just two doors down at 33018 Grand River.  When we found the place, Molly was eager to attempt a new venture with the addition of a gallery.  Again, with a new space comes a new chance to renovate; we removed carpet and beige paint and bathed it in a fresh coat of white, breathing new life into the house with interesting architectural features.  Molly is gifted at recruiting artists and within 2 days’ time, had 30 artists on board to participate.  She named it Honeycomb Gallery and it is beyond beautiful.  A real gem.  We have been officially open one month and already feel the love from participating artists and the community.  Thank you for the support you’ve shown us during this transition.  Our new space allows us to host more resident artists (6!).  As always, I’m eager to see what beautiful ideas and physical work we can generate as a collaborative group.

As promised, looking back over the year, there is much to celebrate.  Our mission remains the same as the day we began:

Skep Space is an artist-centered space that provides support and community to creatives at all levels in their careers.

Our primary concerns are:

  • Create a supportive and inclusive environment in which individuals can find and express their creative voice
  • Provide affordable and accessible studio space for Artists
  • Provide community building opportunities
  • Build varied programming to support both Skep Artists and bring artistic learning to the wider community, through events like workshops, open drawing, critiques, etc.
  • Provide professional development resources for Artists, including mentorship programs 
  • Provide opportunities for Artists to show and sell their work
  • Advance exposure and support for historically underrepresented Artists
  • Teach, collaborate and learn from others throughout the creative process

Looking ahead, there are possibilities that excite me as we continue to grow and evolve:

  • The new house provides community spaces that can be used in creative ways.  I imagine that the more we’re in the space, the more ideas will present themselves to us.  I see possibilities to  expand the Member Artist Program with clever usage of the space(s).
  • Our Honeycomb Artists have been an amazing addition to our community.  So many have shown up in support, offered to volunteer and get the word out on the Honeycomb Gallery.  Our hours are limited at the moment  (that pesky teaching job really eats into my schedule…) but I do foresee ways to expand our offerings.
  • More workshops, more community connection and more making! The world would be a much better place if people could spend more time doing what they love.
  • Heart the Art.  Skep Space is proud to partner with Farmington DDA and GLP Financial Group for the annual fundraising event to benefit public art in our community.  The event is scheduled for February 10, 2023 and we are beyond excited to be a part of it.  

Yes there is more to come on the horizon, and more to expand upon in future blog entries.  I can’t wait to introduce you to our artists, explain the name Skep, discuss our plans for Heart the Art, and overall explore the possibilities as dreamers and art-makers.   Becky, our resident writer and I will share the primary work of writing, and would like to invite others (hopefully members of the writers group and the artists themselves) to join in as well.  For now I will take that intended pause to say thank you for your support and for the opportunity to make this dream a reality.  Happy New Year to one and all!

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