Our Strech Goal is $75,000 - Help us keep the momentum going!
I am speechless at the outpouring of support from this community, thank you from the depths of my heart! I was not prepared for the overwhelming and amazing response this campaign has brought me. In addition to being over 100% funded in record time we received front page coverage in The Oakland Press and Crain's Detroit. All together it's been proof positive that my grand vision is supported!
I will use the funds from my initial goal of 25K to complete the plans required by the city before the end of October. Kickstarter encourages funded projects to create stretch goals, additional things you will do with more funding.
I have a stretch goal of 75K which I would use to do the following:
Not only is this going to be my dream studio, I want it to be an environmentally friendly building with a low carbon footprint as well. In addition to using sustainably sourced, ethically produced building materials, I want to install solar panels on our roof. The glass shop uses an incredible amount of electricity every day to keep the furnaces running. We use up to 270kwh a DAY sometimes, as you can imagine our monthly electric bill is giant. The solar panels will allow us to use a renewable source of energy and reduce our overhead expenses by 100's of dollars each month.
The ease and cost of installing solar has come down in the past couple of years. We are in the process of getting quotes now, costs should be in the neighborhood of 25K. So this is just one of our stretch goals.
Another goal for our stretch funding will be used to develop a program to offer arts exposure to Pontiac students. Long deprived of any arts programming I want epiphany studios open to grades 1-12 to see glass art being made and to make glass art themselves. Offering these students an idea of what's possible and give them an opportunity to envision a life different than the norm of their day to day. Through creativity they can change their trajectory in the world. Creativity is the MOST IMPORTANT SKILL businesses are seeking today, check out articles here and here on the topic. I want to give the students of Pontiac what you are giving me; a chance to use creativity to make the world a better place.
I'm working on new rewards as some price points are sold out already. We should have those ready soon so keep your eyes peeled for them.
I am so grateful for your support! Let's keep the momentum going and see if we can get to 75k together!
WHAT I have a burning desire to create momentous, impactful, timeless sculptures that engage and inspire my community with their scope and meaning. I want to change the way people go through their days and lives; giving them breathtaking moments to WOW them in what otherwise are unmemorable days. The only thing I'm lacking is the space in which to build these masterpieces.
WHO I'm April Wagner, artist and owner of epiphany studios, one of the Midwest's most prestigious glassblowing studios.
I chose "epiphany" for my studio name for two reasons - 1) the definition of epiphany is "insight into the essence of an object and/or material." This is what my work is all about. Looking into the glass to see myself looking back; experiencing my humanity on an intimate journey with a molten 2,000 degree material that I can't touch.
2) "epiphany" represents a specific part of my career and body of work. As I was learning to work with glass, an extremely difficult and time-consuming material to master, I wanted to create pieces that investigated technique, form, and function to foster skills I could later use to create sculpture. I started blowing glass in 1993 and I signed all my work "epiphany" until 2000, when I knew it was time to make sculpture. That was a big turning point for me.
WHY I'm now at another turning point: I'm ready to make iconic large-scale sculptures. I've already started, I've done several one and two story projects all over the country, but I want to go even BIGGER. Think high-rise skyscraper atrium BIG, think the ceiling at the Bellagio BIG.
My 4,000 sq. ft glassblowing studio has a 9’ ceiling and is currently operating at capacity. Historically I've rented space offsite to build large-scale work. The short of it is this is a nightmare time sucker. I lose so much control that I must work doubly hard to maintain quality and vision. Often conditions are unsafe and poorly lit. I need a space I can maintain control of and have the security to dream big. I want to build an addition to my current studio. This new space will be a 2,000 sq. ft open floor plan with a 26' ceiling. It will be a clean, safe, well-lit environment to build giant sculptures that can hang from the ceiling, or the wall, or stand on the floor, and have room to breathe and be fully realized.
WHY ME I'm passionate about the arts and the community, serving on boards and committees for the Detroit Institute of Arts, the College for Creative Studies, Cranbrook, and the Michigan Humane Society. Yet I’m more than an artist – I’m an entrepreneur who is committed to running a successful business with integrity. To this end, I completed the Goldman Sachs 10KSB program in 2018, I'm currently enrolled in the Clark Hulings Business Accelerator, I’m a Certified Woman Owned Business, and one of Crain's Detroit 40 Under 40.
I've been dreaming about this addition for over five years. It is a huge undertaking and I wanted to make sure I was ready, my team was ready and my community was ready. I have laid the groundwork for this to be a hugely successful endeavor, I never do anything half-a##ed. I've done the research, talked to my clients, mentors, friends, family, the bankers, the city, the neighbors and all signs point to GO, so now is the time to build the addition.
HOW I plan to break ground in March 2020. The new addition will not impede on the glassblowing studio so we will be in business during construction. The addition will cost $150 sq. ft x 2,000 = $300,000. I'm accounting for a contingency of 20% ($60,000) for a total of $360,000.
In July we had the site survey completed. Building plans are underway, nearing completion. The next step is for the site plan to be completed in October 2019. The City of Pontiac has reviewed our preliminary plans and given us tentative approval. Plans will go out to bid by a general contractor and construction completed October 2020.
So how am I going to pay for all of this?
- I have some savings and some investments I plan to liquidate to cover about $50,000 of the costs.
- I am pursuing grant opportunities. To date I have received grants from the Flagstar Big Idea grant program ($6,000) and a grant from the NASE(National Association of the Self Employed ($4,000). I've used these monies to hire the architect.
- I will secure traditional funding from the bank. epiphany studios has no debt, other than an auto loan, and owns outright a number of high value assets including the current building and all of the glassmaking equipment.
I'm doing this Kickstarter to offset the amount I will have to borrow from the bank. Should we reach our goal, the monies will pay for the site plans to be completed.
VALUE Located in Pontiac since 1997, epiphany studios is an anchor business for our neighborhood. Pontiac is a community with challenges; a city that has been stripped of art, is low income and has a high unemployment rate. I am proud to be one of its shining stars and a leader in the effort to include creativity as an economic driver. I provide stable employment, pay taxes, bring high net worth individuals to the neighborhood to shop and I have a stellar reputation as a generous partner. I donate time, money, and in-kind services to better the culture and support the community around me.
I envision the new addition not only giving life to amazing sculptures also serving as event space for the community. In my current studio I've hosted everything from birthday parties to board meetings, political fundraisers to girls’ nights. I regularly donate my studio to fundraisers for charities like the Michigan Humane Society and community groups like the Girl Scouts. I have a truly unique studio that delights guests of all ages, ethnicities, and genders; watching glass being made is magical and captivating.
Students in Pontiac schools do not have access to art. I’d like to change that by sharing with them what I have accomplished and expanding their minds through creativity to think beyond poverty. But my current space can only hold 50 people max, with the new addition we could hold close to 200.
THE ASK I believe in my community because they have always believed in me. I wouldn't be where I am now without their support. I am so grateful for all the years of love, trust, and faith. I'm asking for your support now to help me take this giant step; I'm working towards something greater than me, something that will make the world a better place and I need your help. Join me in this huge leap into a future filled with possibility and greatness.
Risks and challenges
I'm no stranger to challenges. Getting here wasn't a straight line or simple decision. It was a conflux of misfits, mistarts, accidents, births, deaths, global warming and chaos. Brillant, beautiful chaos. Am I up for more challenges that come my way? Heck YEAH! Nothing is going to stand between me and creating breathtaking, heartstopping sculptures. I'm reading this great book called "The Obstacle is the Way" that's taught me to relish the challenges, the obstacles, the risks, the "oh nos", and "oh craps" and all the unknowns. I'm a budding stoic on a quest so I say BRING IT ON so I can keep on going.Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
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