Above: Ceramic items produced in the Bailey studio, courtesy City of East Lansing
The ceramics studio formerly housed and operated at Bailey Community Center (BCC) is expected to be moved to a renovated space at Hannah Community Center by September 30, 2016.
Hannah’s rooms 235 and 237, which are currently joined to form one large classroom, are to be put to use to create the new studio site and a renovated meeting space. The plan involves constructing a permanent wall to separate the two rooms, with 235 becoming the renovated meeting space and 237 becoming the new ceramics studio.
Room 235 (the meeting room) will receive new carpet, painted walls, and the addition of cabinets and a sink. The room will be used for “city sponsored and rental/reservation use.” Room 237 (the studio) will receive the most work. Planned upgrades include: hard-surface flooring, work tables, shelving, cabinets and counter-top space, electrical updates, and a barriered, ventilated kiln area on a heat-resistant surface. There will be room for eight pottery wheels as well as the kiln.
The proposed “full service studio” looks to expand upon the one formerly operated at BCC, with hours of operation eventually moving beyond evenings to include daytime and weekend hours. As with the BCC studio, projected revenues “from registration and lab fees paid by participants” are expected to cover instructional, equipment, and facility costs.
The BCC studio had 225 registrants in FY2014 (fiscal year 2014). However, that number reflects registrants and not unique users. (A person could register for more than one course.)
At last Tuesday’s City Council work session, the Council discussed and approved authorization for City Manager George Lahanas to accept a $38,000 grant from the Michigan Council for Arts and Cultural Affairs (MCACA). The grant, which was formally offered on September 29, 2015, will account for half of the $76,000 total project cost. Similar in concept to the recent Artist Alleys campaign, the MCACA grant is contingent upon receipt of equivalent matching funds.
According to a November 20 memo from Parks, Recreation, & Arts Director Tim McCaffrey to George Lahanas, the other half of the project cost is to come from two sources: 66% (about $25,000) from a local fundraising campaign, with the remaining 34% (about $13,000) being a contribution from the City’s FY2017 Parks, Recreation, & Arts budget. The fundraising effort is to be led by a committee formed by past ceramics participants.
The MCACA grant is to be dispersed at three stages: $21,660 on this December 18 upon initial agreement and state-level finalization; $10,640 in July 2016, upon approval of “interim report”; and $5,700 in December 2016 upon approval of a final report due October 31, 2016. The final report will account for “[p]roject revenues and expenditures, including grant matching funds amounts” (i.e., the fundraising campaign and City contribution); the “[n]umber of patrons attracted or benefiting during the grant period”; and “[a] narrative summary of the project and its outcome.”
McCaffrey and Assistant Director of Parks, Recreation, & Arts Wendy Wilmers Longpre attended the work session to both present and answer questions about the proposal. (See their slide presentation here.)
In response to Councilmember Erik Altmann’s questions about having an upstairs location and the associated logistics, McCaffrey and Longpre said that Hannah’s second floor classroom is currently the only option, and that the elevators will help move hardware to the space. One benefit of the proposed Hannah room is that it’s to be a hard-surface floor and therefore easier to clean, compared to BCC’s carpeted studio.
Other Councilmembers asked about the kiln’s proposed placement indoors and the possibility of it being outside. McCaffrey noted that the construction of a shed and associated systems (venting, etc.) would cost approximately $75,000 alone, nearly double the current overall budget. The proposed indoor placement has been approved by a building inspector and a fire marshal.
Mayor Mark Meadows asked about the current revenue from rooms 235 and 237, to which McCaffrey responded that, of the roughly $16,000 the rooms generate annually, about $9,000 of that is from a summer camp that can be relocated. McCaffrey also reiterated that the studio is projected to generate revenue (both from registrations and rentals).
Council voted unanimously to accept the MCACA grant.
Notes: Michael Teager is a member of the East Lansing Arts Commission. Reporting assistance for this article from Alice Dreger. ELi’s thanks go to the Wendy Wilmers Longpre for providing a copy of the slide presentation.