It’s the time of year that never fails to sneak up on everyone and as we get older seems to happen so much faster than in the past. We made it through the holidays and are looking forward to the new upcoming year. For some, it feels pretty ambivalent and downright scary, and for others, a time for hope. For us, this year is full of hope and promise. The last year has seen so much progress in getting Astoria renovated into a usable space. We have dedicated more personal hours than I even tried to count. In the upcoming months, we are planning on opening the doors to really pulling people together and starting to have classes, events, opportunities, and much more.
Something very dear to my heart and plan for Astoria is the ability to help others achieve their dreams of starting or building their businesses. This goal started a long time ago when my first baby was just a baby. I began a journey to becoming a hypnotherapist. It was a challenge to be a new mom and start a practice. I had a high-need baby and needed to start small to grow. I couldn’t find a space to allow me to have the office I needed for a few hours a month. I decided that I would wait until the timing was better. So now here I am, and I have a goal to help others who want to start their businesses and need a space that they can work in for the time they need without worrying about leases and making rent. The ability to start small and work on a schedule that works for growing families and growing businesses. It’s not an easy to market concept. It doesn’t fit into a simple two-line ad, but I hope to spread the word to the people who want to change their lives.
I hope to provide opportunities to everyone from teachers who want to run their own classes(yoga, arts, dance, crafts), influencers or people on social media platforms who wish to have an easy place to set up and film, people in the healing or helping arts. There are endless possibilities.
I don’t know about anyone else, but for me, December always comes with a heaviness. The feeling that it’s time to slow down and start focusing on home and heart spaces. The time of year for starting projects and planning how to spend the cold winter months. Winter is the time I like to set aside for learning new things and enjoying the slower pace of the world.
With that feeling, we are ecstatic to announce this December, we will be hosting a residency of Anonymous Productions / OPFX. If you happened to stop in or drove by the Electric Sandbox event, you were sure to notice the lights and screens. During the month, they will work on building and planning for future endeavors, recording DJ sets, and running full productions. So if you drive by and it’s all lit up, there is some pretty cool work happening. If you would like to find out more about what each company does, reach out and shoot them a message. You can find their Facebook pages here. https://www.facebook.com/APwichitahttps://www.facebook.com/imopfx
In the meantime, if you want an up-close view of some of what’s happening, stop in this Saturday, December 3rd, for our 80’s / 90’s night. It is $5 at the door, and great music and production inside. See you then!
This week wrapped up a pretty major project for us. We have finished repointing the bathroom wall. This room is a relatively small space, but holy cow, it was a job. I logically knew masonry would be hard work, but I didn’t anticipate how hard it would be. I’m so happy it’s done because now I can start on the next stage. Getting the bathroom installed! It is such a huge step in being able to open up to all the events that I want to have there. I keep envisioning the ideas, and they will soon be the reality. It was a good progress day, and I’m glad the weather was nice, and we could get it done. Extra time this week with the holiday weekend should help us get a good bit of work in. Until next week……
In the meantime, we are looking for artists who want to display/sell during the show. I am looking forward to seeing the walls displaying art. It goes back to that vision. Quite a few years ago, Justin and I were driving around the flint hills and ended up in Matfield Green. This was an old bank building that they turned into a small art gallery and welcome center. When we stopped in, it was incredible. I’ve wanted to share that experience with others closer to home. Giving artists space to share and giving others a way to see what is around them is a dream come true for me. If you would like to display your art shoot us an email and we can get you set up!
The busy holiday season is starting, and we are swept up along with it. This month will herald in finishing the back addition to the building and, with it, the essential feature of a bathroom. Our lovely work in progress. We were able to hold our first meeting there this week. It was a good feeling to bring the Ottawa County Arts Council over. We are pairing with them as often as possible to help our organizations thrive in this community. Part of that meeting was discussing their plans for the future and ways to use the space. I can’t wait to see what this partnership brings!
Our next event is the 80’s/90’s Rock Night. A part of that is opening up the walls for Artists to start displaying their works. I can’t really express how much that part of an event means to me. It’s like watching this thing I’ve dreamt about slowly turning from a vision and a dream into an incredibly wonderful reality!
The last week has been super busy! After Art in the Park, I took a week off working as a barista and focused on pushing through hard to get as much done as possible. Everyone in the family but me has come down with a stomach bug this week, so it’s been balancing the work with caring for them. At the end of the week, we have the walls up and painted in the main room. The flooring has also been patched in and is ready for filling and sanding. We are down to many little details, trim, and some wall lighting. The space has come a long way in a week!
While I work, I tend to spend an abundance of time thinking, and I thought a lot about community this week. What does the Astoria community look like? I’m not often fond of things like mission statements and buzzwords that mean nothing. I am a pretty conscientious person, and I live by those principles I hold dear. Two have stood out a lot this week while I worked.
Kindness Matters and People above Profits.
The people who have helped make this space happen come from all different places and beliefs. We don’t always agree on beliefs and ideals. I want to think at the end of the day; those two ideals will hold us all together and create a genuine community. We come together in kindness, even when we disagree, and people always come first over profit. We all need money, as a fact, and that fact doesn’t detract from the fact we need each other more. I can’t wait to start bringing people together in meaningful ways to create a community.
This project feels so all over the place. In some ways, things feel like they are moving much faster than I was anticipating, and in others, they feel like they are at a snail’s pace. This last weekend we got started on the drywall. After years of looking at the timbers in the wall, seeing drywall looks unfamiliar. Tomorrow will bring putting more drywall up and hopefully getting the walls of the central part of the building completely covered. It will be such a massive jump in the project and the space. Then will come the snail’s pace part of the project. Next week will see minimal movement. I will be busy finalizing everything with the Art in the Park. There are just not enough hours in the day to make everything happen. I’m looking forward to the process of mudding the walls. There is something soothing about mudding drywall; cathartic to see it go from just a screwed-on piece of stuff to a complete wall. I’ve found a portion of the floor that needed some extra love, so what I thought was finished still needs some work. I feel like these things are probably the never-ending process of owning a 100+-year-old building. I’m looking forward to our tiny bits of forward motion and excited about next weekend’s Art in the Park event.
I struggled with what to call the place in both name and description. I had so many ideas for what I wanted to see and do that it was hard to wrap them all into a simple, straightforward definition. At heart, I wanted something that summed up both individuality and community. In the current climate, those things don’t seem to be able to be married together. The individuals create the community, and the community supports the individual. Each person brings value to the community, and the community comes together to support them. With that plan began the work to create a space that brings people together. Astoria is a creative community venue because it’s a space to be. When I was creating a map for all the things I could see in this space, it covered so many different options. I want a space for the Arts Council to be able to host classes, poetry, or music. I could envision people coming in for yoga, meditation, Zumba, and so many other options. There are needs for small business owners that need a space for a few hours a month and don’t want to meet clients at home or have the capacity to rent an entire building. We already have plans to bring a unique music scene into the space. I have plans to support the local community through get-togethers like game nights, local business pop-ups, a blessing box, and working with local organizations to try to bring the individuals together to create a community. At its heart, this space is a place for people to find what they need to be a supportive community member and have a community that supports them.
This project started in 2018. I was seeking a community and a space to gather. When 214 W 2nd came up for sale, I just got excited. I wanted this place. It was gutted and rough, but as they say, “it had good bones.” The east brick wall sold me. I loved the timber built into the brick and how there were still old square nails stuck in random places. I had some extensive and lofty plans for the business, but sometimes life kicks you around a bit, and you have just to let life happen, accept the changes, and move forward. With those unexpected life happenings, it’s taken some time to pull everything together, get it all fixed up and ready to go. This space is the first root of my own I’ve ever really put down in a place, and I wanted to go about it with mindfulness of things that are important to me. We aimed to source as much of our materials through recycling and reconditioning. Many details in the space look used and worn because the materials are recycled from various sources. The pieces have all come together to create the space that we can be proud of to open and share with our community. Through renovating this space, Justin and I have learned so much. We gained a lot of skills through the power of youtube and connecting with tradespeople who shared their knowledge when needed. Our relationship grew as we learned to build and do renovation projects together. Some things came easy, and some just had to be fought with. This building and this business are a labor of love, and I can’t express how much I appreciate the help and support we have received to create this. I hope when we are fully operational, we can host a massive thank you dinner for everyone who has come together on this project.