A Fledgling Community
Artisan’s Asylum is a one-year-old nonprofit 9,000 square foot community workshop, makerspace and hackerspace in Somerville, Massachusetts. We provide our local community with access to precision machining, sculptural metalworking, electronics assembly, woodworking, sewing, bicycle repair and more, all under one roof. We teach classes, offer memberships, and have around 1,500 square feet devoted to renters establishing their own little shop spaces with access to our equipment. Starting with a handful of tools, no savings and an entirely-volunteer effort, we’ve now taught over 110 classes to more than 600 people in the Boston area, teaching them new craft skills and helping hundreds of people complete inspiring projects, all in a year’s time. After a year, we’ve come to realize… we’re too small.
Our community has been asking us time and time again for the one thing we can’t give them – more space to make their own. Our members live in Somerville, Cambridge and Boston, where there are no garages, few studios, and generally no space to work on creative projects. Coming in and working on projects with us in our shop is fine, but again and again we’ve heard the call to expand our renter spaces so that our members can put their down tools, workbenches and roots and invest in a community of like-minded individuals. Up until now, we haven’t been able to do anything about it.
A Once-In-A-Lifetime Opportunity
Working with the City of Somerville, we’ve been introduced to a 25,000 square foot manufacturing space that only recently opened up, that’s within walking distance to the Red Line. The owners of the space are hugely supportive of our business plan, and our path is clear. With that much new space, we have the ability to expand our shop spaces, bring in new tools like lasercutters and computer-controlled plasma cutters, acquire new abilities like open-flame work, and most importantly… provide rental studio space to over 100 artists and artisans. We’re standing on the cusp of creating an entirely new kind of community in Boston, founded on creative expression and inspiration of all kinds. Come this fall, we aim to be up and running in our new space!
We have a rock solid business plan to support our staff and expenses once we move in, but we have to make the jump from a 9,000 square foot volunteer-run organization to a 25,000 square foot professionally-run organization in one fell swoop. We’re looking for funding to pay for security deposits, infrastructural build-out, new tools to match our new capabilities, and more. We have a strong and clear path to bootstrapping our way into the space, which is to ask our new renters to pay in advance to secure their space (and if you’re interested in renting with us, you should let us know by filling out this survey), but every little bit of money will help us create this space that desperately needs to exist. We will continue to teach even more amazing classes than we have now, we will have even more professional facilities than we’ve had so far, and we will be home to an amazing community of creative thinkers.
Thank you for your consideration, and we can’t wait to help you be creative!