New Artisan Center set to open its doors

New Artisan Center set to open its doors

The Bainbridge Artisan Resource Network’s new facility will soon be providing visitors with the tools and know-how to create expertly crafted works of art in a variety of media.

The network’s new building is the result of an $8.5 million “BARNraising” campaign which received contributions from more than 500 donors.

Hundreds of volunteers also donated their time to realize their dream of creating a collaborative artistic space. The cabinets and shelves inside the center alone saw more than 4,000 hours of volunteer work.

Sallie Maron, president of BARN’s board of directors, said the center will act as a hub for community-building.

“It’s a community artisan center designed to bring people together,” Maron said.

In addition to dwarfing the Rolling Bay location’s 2,000-square-foot campus, the new 25,000-square-foot campus will also offer workspace for a multitude of artistic disciplines, offering room for the budding artist or experienced artisans wishing to practice new skills, participate in workshops and classes or hone the skills they have built over decades.

The new location will include a fabric arts studio, a dye room and dye garden where members can grow plants to naturally dye their fabrics, glass art studio, jewelry studio, media and technology studio with 3D printers, metal arts studio, woodworking studio, a commercial-grade kitchen and many more classrooms and meeting spaces available for use by the members and visitors of the center.

BARN’s executive director Mark Nichols said that the project has benefited hugely not just from financial donations, but also equipment donations from generous patrons seeking to foster creative community collaboration.

“There was a gentleman and his wife from the Bay area who wished to retire up here, and he was lamenting as to what to do with this wonderful metal shop that he has,” Nichols said.

Nichols explained to the gentleman, that if he were to donate his equipment to the BARN, he would be able to use it any time in the metal arts studio.

“I said, ‘You can play with your toys anytime you want to.’ He goes, ‘Let me talk to the wife.’

“Two days later, he says, ‘Done,’” Nichols said.

“That saved us a phenomenal amount,” he added.

Carolyn Goodwin, a member of BARN’s board of directors, also noted that a considerable amount of money was saved when the kitchen arts group was looking to buy a commercial range for their kitchen.

“Along came Jane Pomeroy of the Berry Patch, the cooking store, she just happened to have one of those ranges and she donated it,” Goodwin said.

It also seems that word about BARN has been traveling fast. Karin Lee Luvaas has lived on Bainbridge less than a month and is already getting involved in the center’s jewelry studio.

Luvaas, a jeweler, left her tech job in the Bay area to open her own business making jewelry on the island. At the suggestion of a friend, Luvaas checked out the BARN and is now looking to take on an active role within the organization.

“I want to get involved and maybe teach and see where it goes from there,” she said.

“It’s a huge space, there’s so much light, it’s wonderful,” Luvaas said of the Artisan Center.

“There’s really a ton of great tools that are in here and a lot of people that I’ve met, just today, are all jewelers and they are so excited to get into this shared space, use the studios and collaborate together. That’s exactly what I’m looking for,” she added.

Despite the sizable donations made to the BARN, the group is still fundraising, hoping to gather about $300,000 to finish equipping the new space.

A grand opening of the new Artisan Center is set for 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday, June 3.

Members of the public are encouraged to come and enjoy food, music and fun at the new center. Attendees will receive a passport upon arrival that will lead them on a tour of all 11 artisan studios.

Visitors will also have the opportunity to participate in fun hands-on activities in woodworking, fiber arts, jewelry arts, printmaking, kitchen arts and more.

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