The Art Factory at Winthrop Arts
RIVERVIEW: The Art Factory at Winthrop Arts has a pretty cool, and ambitious, mission. When it opens this Fall it’s the first step to fulfilling John and Kay Sullivan’s and Bryant Martinez’s ultimate wish, “to create a haven of art where kids can create and experience art now.”
The Art Factory, planned as an after-school art program, will be able to accommodate up to 60 children in different classes. There will be a core curriculum, but the type of art classes available will be varied from painting to carpentry. The goal is to provide a professional level holistic program that encourages creativity, healthfulness, and confidence for students of all abilities.
Classes will be motivational, hands-on and innovative. Students, of all skill and age levels, will be encouraged to create projects bigger than they thought possible. The goal is for students to go home with real skills and, most importantly, an appreciation for art. “We want to help create the next generation of artists and art patrons”, says Katharine Sullivan-Dawes.
“Kids are dreamers,” Bryant says. “Our classes will help kids apply their dreams into reality.”
The Art Factory will have classroom space, clean-up areas with slop sinks, a lounge for teachers and, perhaps most important, a gallery for children to exhibit their work.
Let’s go back a bit.
The Story Behind The Art Factory at Winthrop Arts
If you’re familiar with the Winthrop Town Centre on Bloomingdale Rd. you know it’s a special place. John and Kay Sullivan developed the area in the early 2000’s to create the type of community and town center that were common decades ago – a place where you can walk most everywhere, run into your neighbor at the local shop, and visit with friends on their front porch. Today, the Town Centre and community have all kinds of dwellings, from apartments to single family homes, and the Town Centre is filled with restaurants, shops and services.
When they were creating Winthrop Town Centre John and Kay thought it was important to include an art element in the community. Kay knew she would want such a place to take her young son Sergey after school.
Solution? The Sullivans hired a Town Artist by the name of Bryant Martinez. Bryant, with a background in art and education, created murals for the Centre, worked on the Winthrop Art Festival (launched in 2008) and began a small after-school ‘art factory’, on the side, as a place for local children to come after school.
But, that’s just the beginning of this story.
The Art Factory Grows in Spite of Itself
The ‘art factory’ began to grow despite its limitations. It had no ‘official space’ so classes took place outdoors, but under the protection of an original pole barn roof that had been on the development’s property. They had no budget for art supplies, so they got donations and improvised. Eventually, more children started showing up for classes and artists began showing up.
Fast forward to the summer of 2015. The Sullivan’s daughter, Katharine Sullivan-Dawes, also an artist, was looking for a way to help Winthrop. Her parents asked her to help take Winthrop Arts, Inc, an organization established in 2011 to help with the blossoming Winthrop Arts Festival, to the next level. The Sullivans wanted Winthrop Arts, Inc. to become self-supportive.
An Energetic Partnership
Katharine jumped in feet first and began working side-by-side with Bryant Martinez on Winthrop Arts, Inc. “Winthrop Arts had been Bryant’s baby for a long time, “Katharine says,” but he welcomed me in immediately. I think we both knew we could combine our skills, efforts and passion to accomplish more.”
It was immediately clear Bryant and Katharine had big plans, one of which included the Art Factory.
The summer and fall of 2015 was a whirlwind. Katharine and Bryant gathered and created a board of Directors, or Visionaries as they are called and, on September 1 they filed the necessary paperwork to become an official 501(c)3 non-profit. On September 11, just 10 days later, they had their official 501(c)3 designation. It was a surprisingly fast process made possible with the experience of several of the Visionaries on the board.
“We went straight into planning mode,” Katharine says. “First, we wanted to give Winthrop Arts, Inc a big launch to celebrate its new non-profit standing. Then, we wanted to get the Art Factory plans off the ground. We had no funding outside the generous contributions that Winthrop had set aside to get the art program in the community’ going, so we learned to improvise.”
Between September 2015 and March 2016 Katharine, Bryant and the new Board of Visionaries planned and hosted a Christmas Tree Lighting party, a Winthrop Arts Community Launch Party and the 8th Annual Winthrop Arts Festival. All the while, they were also making plans for the Art Factory.
The Art Factory Finds A Home. Can you say triple-wide?
Winthrop donated a triple-wide trailer, originally used as a construction office when the Town Centre was being developed, that had been left behind, as well as land for it to have a permanent home. The trailer needed a LOT of work, but it was perfect.
In March 2016, with the help of a flatbed truck, the triple-wide, aka the Art Factory, was moved to its new address just behind The Times Building in Winthrop Town Centre.
The Art Factory Takes Shape
The trailer needed to be gutted: re-framing walls, new floors and a new ceiling were on the To Do list. While work is still underway the Art Factory’s transformation is dramatic and there are plans to open in Fall 2016.
Countless volunteers have lent time and services to the project. The finish line is near, but not yet crossed. To finish construction and the build-out of the Art Factory at Winthrop Arts, repay funds Winthrop generously made available for the project and to buy furniture and art supplies Katharine and Bryant launched an online Generosity Campaign in June 2016. Click the image below if you’d like to participate.
Art Factory at Winthrop Arts: Opening Fall 2016 – Art Teachers Wanted
While work is still underway, the goal is to soft open the Art Factory in September 2016 and fully open in October 2016. Katharine and Bryant are looking for art teachers now. You can find information and an application HERE or click on the image below.
The Future. The Art Factory and Beyond.
Even though the Art Factory hasn’t quite opened its doors, there are already more plans in place. In addition to getting the Art Factory up and running, Winthrop Arts, Inc wants to continue to grow the annual Art Festival that it manages and bring the Airstream Market to life. You can read more about both HERE.
“I had no idea how much Winthrop Arts, Inc wanted to grow,” Katharine says, “but we’re treating it as an art destination so it will become an art destination. It’s clear the community is ready.”
Just noticing things like ‘Town Artist’, Bryant’s title , ‘Director of Everything’, Katharine’s title, and ‘Visionaries’, the titles given to the Board of Directors, and you know you’re seeing something special.
It’s exciting to see the enthusiasm, passion, and industriousness of this organization. Winthrop Arts, Inc is making really big things happen. The Art Factory will be an incredible asset for us. We’re so very lucky to have them in our South Shore community.
CHECK OUT THIS INCREDIBLE VIDEO For more on the Art Factory at Winthrop Arts , their mission and their Generosity Campaign. VIDEO [Video Credit: Created by Sam Ragland with help from Katharine Sullivan-Dawes.]
More Information on Winthrop Arts, Inc
For more information on Winthrop Arts, Inc, the Art Factory, the Winthrop Art Festival and the Airstream Market VISIT their WEBSITE.
To follow progress on the Art Factory and future projects FOLLOW Winthrop Arts, Inc on FACEBOOK
To learn more about teaching at the Art Factory, VISIT HERE.
If you are interested in providing SUPPORT to the Art Factory at Winthrop Arts, Inc VISIT their online Generosity Campaign