Ever since the birth of her first child 13 years ago, Kris Schumacher-Rasmussen has been pursuing the dream of opening a downtown studio where professionals and amateurs can pursue their artistic muses.
The school art teacher recently decided it was now or never for her enterprise, “The Studio,” which will open in late November or early December at 127 Front St.
A crowd of more than 100 artists, fellow teachers and members of the community gathered Tuesday evening at Chapel of the Archangels to hear about Schumacher-Rasmussen’s plans, and for many to enjoy a painting party afterward.
The Studio’s space, which includes both sides of the building, will include three classrooms (one for pottery wheels, one for 2-D, one for 3-D), retail space, an area that is convertible to studio space for people to work and a private space.
“It will be somewhere for everybody to gather, connect, make, exhibit and sell art,” Schumacher-Rasmussen said. “We’ll also have a few art supplies.”
The idea was born, in part, as an offshoot of Schumann-Rasmussen’s previous enterprise, a paint party business called “Art on the Town Wisconsin.”
“One of my clients said to me, ‘Hey, can we do some smashed glass mosaics?’ That’s a little bit harder to transport in my van to someone’s church or to their house,” she said. “It eventually became a conversation about places and spaces where you can come and take a class, or work on a potter’s wheel and stay and work on that for three or four hours. We have artists who are looking for a place to work, we have children who are looking for a place to learn with an artist, and we have people who want to do all these great things. We can provide that for you.”
Fees will be designed to be affordable, but also to cover expenses. A price structure will be announced after it is formulated.
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Schumacher will continue to do the bachelorette parties, art retreats, private and corporate events and paint parties like she has done in the past, but will offer much more. Clients will be able to learn skills like painting and drawing, jewelry and metal work and sculpture, fiber arts, print making, photography, and — perhaps in the long term — culinary arts.
After-school art opportunities will be offered for children, as well as events for preschoolers on evenings and weekends.
Many of the teachers who will offer classes at The Studio were present, eager to share the news with the public. Each was introduced to the crowd, and shared their background as artists, educators and/or hobbyists.
Work on the building has been ongoing, and signs of progress are being made quickly. Two weekends ago, for example, friends and family tore out 80% of the carpet on the first floor. A dumpster stands at the back of the building, filling quickly with random items that were left behind in the basement.
Schumacher-Rasmussen credits the Wisconsin Women’s Business Initiative Corporation for offering a small business class and helping to develop a business plan, and Kiva (an international nonprofit organization) for providing a loan.
Even though it will be a for-profit business, donations of cash, art materials and labor are being sought to help the enterprise.
Anticipated hours are 3-9 p.m. on weekdays, 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. on Saturday and noon to 5 p.m. on Sundays. (A flat-screen TV will be installed so Packers games can be watched during the creative process).
More information can be found under Art on the Town Wisconsin on Facebook. A website is currently being built, and will soon be online for course registration, information and other updates.