Magnetic North is a ~2,800 square foot shared studio space in the coveted Belmont neighborhood in Southeast Portland. The space contains a woodshop, a screenprinting studio, multi-use space, a few closed-door offices and around 17 members, at any given moment. After six years and dozens of artists, designers and businesses using the space, our lease is up and we are getting priced out of the neighborhood.
As light industrial spaces such as ours become harder and harder to find (and afford) a small group of us have decided to pool our resources and create something bigger, better and more sustainable that will not only solve our own studiolessness, but also provide access to many others. Living the dream!
In our search for a new location, we found a huge empty warehouse in North Portland, in a quiet commercial area on N Killingsworth street, in a building shared with like-minded businesses such as Letterpress PDX and Stacks Coffee shop. The space is around 3,700 square feet, but requires many improvements such as walls, electrical work, insulation and a heating and cooling system. These are huge expenses, but we are looking at this as an investment: in ourselves, in the neighborhood, in the community and in the future of Portland’s creative culture.
A huge reason that we have decided to stick together instead of disperse, is that we have found a true community. Meaning, we are a group of people with a bunch of different skills and interests, and when we come together we can do so much more than we can separately. Growing into a larger space means that the community can grow with us, and a larger community means MORE RAD SHIT. We invite you to be a part of that: to contribute in any way that you can, to come hang out, to take a class, to support our artists and possibly even become a member!
A few of our members have created awesome rewards for those who wish to contribute. For your $5 contribution, we will not only love you forever, but create a 1”x1” tile with your name, logo that will be part of a (hopefully) huge backer wall that will be permanently installed in our space. These tiles come with every contribution, in varying sizes!
Many of our current stakeholders have also volunteered to create rad gifts for backers: Paper Puffin is making a limited edition enamel pin, Cactus Legs is making a True North keychain and SnowMade is offering a laser-engraved wooden houseplant! For just $25 you can also get a 1-month community membership which entitles you to discounts on classes, exclusive invites, and other perks.
A PARTY! We are planning on hosting a very exciting grand opening celebration! If you want to come, the ONLY way to get an invite is to purchase a ticket via this kickstarter!
Our core members have backgrounds in everything from CNC design, to screen printing, animation, building a youth arts foundation, graphic design, laser cutting and glass. We are a group of people who currently share a studio space and are dedicated to finding a new location to increase accessibility and affordability for artists in our community. We are a group of people who enjoy working together to create work in an inspiring environment. We are a group of people who need a space to get dirty, and who want to offer that space to others in our community.
The vision for True North Studios is a woman-owned and operated co-working space providing low-cost access to a wide variety of sophisticated tools, creative classes and multidisciplinary workspaces in a people-centric studio environment. With 10 doers-in-residence and 20 all-access members, we will help people find their True North through collaboration, inspiration and experimentation.
As many spaces accommodate only one, True North will be offering both “dirty” and “clean” spaces that will allow people the opportunity to engage in hands-on making of all kinds. The space will contain a full wood shop, a screen printing studio, a digital printing studio, ventilated finish room and flexible workspaces. These workspaces can be configured to become learning spaces, where weekly classes and workshops such affordable life drawing classes, screen-printing workshops, and felting classes will be held. Many of our members currently teach in other locations, and this would enable us to bring those experiences in-house. We will also use the ample wall space in the building to provide gallery spaces for artists to display and sell their work.
With an already robust social media following, we will continue to promote both True North and its members through those channels, and grow our community through events such as a grand-opening celebration party with demos, weekly tours of the studio, and collaborating with other organizations to host their own events. We will also provide resources for our own members by bringing in guest speakers in other fields such as accountants, lawyers and business professionals who can help guide them in their career goals. We also plan to partner with local businesses and organizations to continue building a solid communal foundation.
Once our lease is finalized, we are planning to get to work. We will be able to do some of the build-out ourselves, but for some of the upgrades we will need to hire licensed specialists. We've been gathering quotes around town and also pricing out build materials to get the space up and running. Ideally we will be fully operational by August 1st. We have set our minimum goal at $20,000 which would cover the cost of the materials to build walls and run electricity. Any additional funds we raise will go toward additional build-out expenses detailed below:
Risks and challenges
The current location of Magnetic North is in the heart of Portland's central eastside. With commercial lease prices rising within Portland city limits and beyond, finding a affordable location is challenging. We are in final negotiations with a commercial realtor to lease a space in North Portland’s Overlook Neighborhood.
Our spaces will be offered at competitive rates, and will include “micro-studios” as well as larger spaces to provide for the varying needs of different artists. We will offer open access space for a monthly membership fee, which is a proven strategy that not only helps to create a steady income stream, but also benefits members who only need to use space occasionally. The studio will also be generating income through the classes and workshops offered regularly. As a re-birth of Magnetic North Studios, this venture includes a built-in member base of artists who wish to remain a part of the collective studio experience. Through the sharing of resources and tools, we will be able to keep spaces affordable, which means that our tools will be in high demand, and our space will always be occupied.
Our risk does not lie in our studio’s sustainability but in the initial start-up costs. If we are unable to reach our goal, we will not be able to build out the space we have envisioned, and our existing creative community will add to the list of Portland’s “priced out” art world.Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
- (30 days)