UPDATE: In a matter of hours, our Kickstarter campaign will be over. We've crested the all-important $15,000 mark, ensuring support for our project to create a gallery/café hybrid in downtown St. Louis, BUT OUR WORK IS NOT OVER! In the hours that remain, we want to further the sustainability of this project by significantly reducing its energy consumption and cost. We are taking this opportunity to permanently maximize support for Art Saint Louis through energy-efficient lighting. Click on the video directly above for details, and please join in making the most of our community's ongoing support.
Art Saint Louis is out to further the vitality of our city in a fresh way! We are in the final stages of creating a new cultural and social destination in one of our city’s treasured historic buildings, the Park Pacific building at 1223 Pine Street in downtown St. Louis. Working with architectural and design firm Lawrence Group, owners of the Park Pacific building, local coffee roaster Mississippi Mud Coffee and Niche Interior Design and Home Furnishings, our goal is to create a gallery/café hybrid, a place our community will repeatedly visit to enjoy dynamic exhibitions of local art and an inviting atmosphere in which to meet, study and relax. The gallery will feature sofas, tables and chairs in the heart of the exhibition areas, outdoor seating, free WiFi and a coffee shop serving locally-roasted brews. We want our new gallery to be an inviting point of connection between artists and audiences in St. Louis, a playground for the ideas and conversations that shape our community.
We are entering the final construction phase and funding is needed NOW to cover remaining costs. All support raised through this Kickstarter campaign will be exclusively dedicated to covering remaining construction-related costs.
Who is Art Saint Louis and what's it all about?
Art Saint Louis is a nonprofit visual arts organization incorporated in 1986 by a group of St. Louis-based artists concerned with the state of visual arts and the lack of exhibition and professional opportunities in the region. Initial operations began small with one major annual exhibition and several smaller juried exhibits. We’re still small in size, with only two full-time staff members, but BIG in impact, thanks to generous support and participation from many members of our community, including many artists. Here’s a snapshot of what Art Saint Louis does today:
- GALLERY EXHIBITIONS – We produce an average of 12 exhibits per year in our gallery in downtown St. Louis. All are free and open to the public, and feature the work of contemporary visual artists at work within a 200-mile radius of St. Louis. Exhibits encompass a wide spectrum of styles, mediums and expression by emerging and established artists, and include collaboration with 20 regional colleges and universities to showcase the work of student artists.
- OUTREACH EVENTS - We produce a variety of events to engage the community and contextualize the work of local artists. Recent events have included juror gallery talks, a catered dinner, a musical performance co-presented with the St. Louis Symphony, a community potluck and wine tastings.
- EDUCATIONAL – We present artist residency programs in St. Louis area elementary, middle and high schools. These programs provide students the opportunity to work with professional artists, to study the artists' media, techniques and styles, and learn about the life and career of an artist.
- OFF-SITE EXHIBITIONS – We produce dynamic exhibits in a variety of private and public spaces as a way of enriching the environs of our region. Current venues include The Laurel Apartments, Metro Transit, Fleishman-Hillard, St. Louis RCGA and Des Peres Hospital. Additionally, we produce a series of pop-up galleries (www.Pop-UpSTL.com) in available commercial properties in downtown St. Louis to catalyze urban renewal, strengthen neighborhood businesses and attract commercial tenants.
Why is Art Saint Louis creating this gallery/café?
Our organization exists to make life in St. Louis a richer experience through the creative activity of our region’s contemporary visual artists. Frankly, we can’t imagine a more effective and exciting way to do that than through this new, one-of-a-kind art outlet! Prior to this project, Art Saint Louis served the community from a variety of locations in the city of St. Louis, including the last five years at 555 Washington Avenue. With this project, we are not simply changing our location, we are changing our way of serving the community. We want to add to our nearly 30 years of service by more effectively developing an audience for contemporary visual art and connecting that audience with the artists of our region.
Our hopes for this project are tied to the economic and cultural vitality of St. Louis. We are choosing to maintain and develop our base of operations in the urban capital of our region, in downtown St. Louis. As a post-industrial community seeking vital population density, downtown needs strong cultural programming to further the efforts of civic and corporate leaders who are working to affect the city’s social and economic renaissance.
- ECONOMIC - This project will catalyze economic vitality by making the city more attractive to prospective residents, and by continually drawing visitors from outlying areas. A recent study by the Regional Arts Commission of St. Louis in partnership with Americans for the Arts (“Arts and Economic Prosperity IV”, 2012) revealed that organizations like Art Saint Louis are part of a $582 million dollar economic engine in St. Louis, comprising 10,046 full-time jobs and marked by a 4% growth rate in economic activity and 14% growth in employment since 2007.
- CULTURAL - This project will add to the cultural vitality of St. Louis in a distinctive way. By establishing a strategically-located venue celebrating the best of regional visual art, this project will help nurture a national identity for St. Louis as a center where fine art is not only appreciated but also where it is made. Artists in St. Louis are faced with great challenges in garnering critical attention and patronage for their work and need high-quality outlets to grow and sustain their activity. This new venue will help meet this need and bolster St. Louis’ art ecosystem.
Why is Art Saint Louis seeking support through Kickstarter, and how will it use that support?
With early financial support from the artist community and from the Whitaker Foundation, we began construction and renovation work on our gallery/café in the Park Pacific building in May and are continuing that work with plans to open to the public in July. Through volunteer labor and pro bono professional services, we have worked hard to reduce construction costs to a bare minimum. Necessary repairs include framing, plumbing, floor repair, electrical, IT, signage, HVAC, drywall and painting. These construction costs total $58,570.
An additional $15,000 is needed to help cover what remains of these expenses and enable us to continue visual art programming in St. Louis. This Kickstarter campaign is our final sprint to the finish! All funds raised through our Kickstarter campaign will be exclusively dedicated to covering remaining construction-related expenses on this project.
How does Kickstarter work?
Part of what makes Kickstarter unusual (and exciting) is that it’s an all-or-nothing funding platform. Our Kickstarter goal is $15,000. Art Saint Louis must collect enough pledges from backers like you to reach that goal by July 13, 2013, or else our backers’ credit cards will not be charged and no funding will be generated. But that’s not going to happen! We’re confident in the generosity of the St. Louis community and the value of this project. With your help, we will do it!
How about some rewards?
By backing our Kickstarter campaign you can help yourself to some fantastic rewards compliments of our friends at Mississippi Mud Coffee Roasters! A pledge of $20 will earn you FIVE delicious, locally-roasted coffee beverages—hot or iced, lattes, dark or light roasts.... Then there are 12-oz bags of Mississippi Mud fire roasted coffee beans, the Mississippi Mud Coffee T-shirt, the Sowden Oskar SoftBrew Coffee Brewer and more. Plus membership privileges with Art Saint Louis! Check it out, and enjoy.
Risks and challenges
The greatest challenge Art Saint Louis faces is one that is common to most nonprofit organizations: limited financial resources to cover ongoing operating expenses. Art Saint Louis has a proven track record of overcoming this challenge in continuing its work without interruption since 1986. And our move to the Park Pacific building will in fact REDUCE the organization’s financial challenges and risks by lowering its monthly operating costs. In addition to the compelling social and cultural motivations for pursuing this project, we are driven by the opportunity we have to further the sustainability of our organization’s activity and its impact on our community. With your help, we WILL see this project through to completion and continue to move or mission forward. We are commitment to wisely stewarding the funds we receive from all our supporters, including those who join us in this Kickstarter campaign.
THANK YOU for your consideration and support! Please share our story and help us make St. Louis an even cooler place to be!Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
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