A project of ARTISANS ASYLUM INC
Our shops are not everything we dream they could be - we finally have a facilities manager, let's give him a budget to get them into shape!
Artisan's Asylum has grown very large in a very short period of time, and, like any adolescent, we're experiencing some growing pains.
In just under three years, we've gone from a 1,000 square foot hole-in-the-wall startup with five machine tools to a 40,000 square foot Somerville cultural institution. We are a nonprofit offering a costly service - providing access to professional manufacturing equipment to the general public. In order to make ends meet, we've had to cut corners: providing some hobbyist-grade tools, and skimping on some consumables, infrastructure, and tool repairs. We haven't had the staff time to dedicate to setting up organizational systems in the shops that would improve storage and workflow, and often we weren't able to respond to maintenance needs in a timely fashion.
But the good news is that things are getting better! We've just hired our first full-time facilities manager - Rob Masek starts on March 11th. He has worked as a professional fabricator in many types of media, taught fabrication classes to his local community, worked with volunteers to produce events and run businesses, and most importantly, revitalized another makerspace and pushed it down the path of sustainability. Here, it will be his job to assess the needs of our facility, clean up the shops and reorganize them so that they're easy to use, organize, repair and replenish their inventory, and start thinking about replacing existing hobby-grade equipment with new, higher-end, industrial-grade equipment that will withstand the beating from our hundreds of users, many of whom are beginners.
We're putting this fundraiser together to provide Rob with an initial revitalization and refit budget for our facility. In the past, our volunteers and staff have had to do the best they can with minimal funding. Now that we know that the Asylum isn't going anywhere, now that the community we are serving has become so large, and now that we have someone as a dedicated caretaker for the resources we put in place, let's raise the funds we need to really whip the shops into shape.
We have general priorities for the money we're raising now, though we'll leave specifics to Rob. In order from highest to lowest priority, we'll be focusing on: replenishing essential shop consumables, buying industrial versions of urgently-needed new tools (like an industrial planer and industrial sanders), improving light quality in our shops, adding electrical infrastructure to get extension cords off the ground, and improving dust collection and air quality in the space.
We are deeply grateful for any help you all can give. We're confident that with dedicated funding and staff, the quality of our workspaces will quickly and dramatically improve. Help us make these the kind of spaces you dream of working in!