Hey, I have a question….

Hey, I have a question. How do you go about starting a community crafts center? (Specifically, if you happen to live in a Village like Oak Park, any thoughts would be very helpful.) Here in Oak Park, we already have an awesome arts league, with a building where they offer classes, studio space, more. http://opal-art.com/. But their focus is on more of the drawing / painting / sculpture side of things.

Oak Park has a yarn store, Forest Park next door has a yarn store, it's the sort of neighborhood where I feel like some sort of Handwork Studio could be incredibly popular and an asset to the community. If I had a spare building, I would make half of it that, and half of it for a Writing Center (with studio space you could rent, perhaps, and and a mix of writing classes, from beginning fiction to memoir to maybe even things like resume writing and tutoring for high school English classes).

I keep daydreaming about this in my spare time, and the details get clearer and clearer in my mind, but I don't have a spare building. But I suspect I could easily get 20-30 people behind the project, volunteering their time to get it off the ground, etc. (The yarn stores should be behind it, since it would generate more people wanting to buy yarn. :-) And right now, there are a lot of empty storefront spaces in the Village (sadly).

I'm just not sure whom I should talk to. The Village directly? If so, who? The Park District? (They offer the right kinds of classes -- their sewing classes are awesome -- but they don't have a studio space. How much would I love to take a huge room, furnish it with thrift store furniture and donated afghans and green plants, and start setting up a class schedule? I bet I could even staff it with volunteers for the first year. I just don't know where to start in finding the space. Am I nuts to think this could actually be feasible?

Note -- my goal here would be to have it be a non-profit thing, not a for-profit. Although eventually, paying staff and instructors would be a goal. Sooner rather than later on that. But space is the first problem.

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