Calling All Wisconsin Artist Cooperatives, Collectives and Incubators

By
Melanie Hovey, Director of Lemon Street Gallery, Kenosha
Spyros Heniadis, President ARTscape Cooperative, Marshfield

Information about Wisconsin artist groups who have organized as a cooperative or collective, and organizations that consider themselves artist incubators are being gathered into a comprehensive resource database. The purpose of gathering this information is to create a statewide resource for all artists, and to develop a strong statewide network of existing and developing arts organizations. In the future, with each groupís permission, we will freely share the contact list for possible networking opportunities. However, this information will primarily be used as a resource to artists who are considering forming a group of their own. Wisconsin Arts Board and Arts Wisconsin are also very interested in this database, as they do their vital work on our behalf. Not only does it make sense for them to work with individuals, but also consolidate some of their efforts by disseminating information and opportunities to organizations that serve multiple artists with similar needs.

This project was born of a discussion on Arts Day of the queries that established arts organizations often receive from artists wanting to establish or formalize a group. We agreed that while it is quite easy to legally organize and incorporate, it can be difficult to decide on the most appropriate model, and to establish a foundation for sustaining the new organization. We also realized through our own organization efforts that the resources that seem to be widely available are not easily accessible. After our discussion, what seemed to be most useful would be to compile information on a variety of successful models. Ideally, we will develop a group of arts leaders who are interested in serving as mentors for artists looking to organize a group. The data will also be useful to artists wishing to join an existing organization. Like many projects, the objectives of this one have been refined to make the data useful to a wider audience. The more complete and varied the information, the more useful it will be regionally, as well as nationally.

The long term goal of this project is to identify ALL organized artist groups in Wisconsin. We would like to hear from groups that are large and small, successful and not so, those with a permanent storefront location and those who meet regularly, but do not rent/own a space, those who have incorporated and those who have not, nonprofits and for-profits. We seek information on organized visual, performing and literary artist-groups who meet regularly. To be clear, weíd like to hear from organized groups of artists, not, for example, an agent who happens to carry the work of a number if artists.

Initially, the information we could use is: Organizationís name, legal status (incorporated or not), mailing and emailing address, years as an organized group, website information, number of group members, and contact info for one person who can discuss how the organization is managed. If you know some of this info for a Wisconsin artistís group, please submit what you know, and we will research the rest. To complete this resource base, we hope to also gather the groupís mission and vision, and any written organizational documents the group is able to share. We can take any or all of this information right now. Additionally, if you are a member of an organization, or just want to participate in the development of this project, please contact us.

Please send all information, questions or offers of help on the project to:
Melanie Hovey at info@lemonstreetgallery.org
Spyros Heniadis at spyros@marinatingthemind.com

Please forward this query to your artist-contacts. Thank you so much for your help!