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Re: Community Print Center Questions...

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  • goldquoin
    I have been gradually growing a print center over three years with slow but steady success. Strategies that I have found successful are: • Actively recruit a
    Message 1 of 10 , Feb 2, 2013
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      I have been gradually growing a print center over three years with slow but steady success. Strategies that I have found successful are:
      • Actively recruit a solid core of people who work well together. (I found the most receptive were working designers tired of the digital drudgery longing for a more hands-on experience.)
      • Offer workshops, mini-lessons, demonstrations and classes.
      • Different fee structure: People with the money don't have the time (and vice versa.) Have a very low membership fee that allows people to participate in lessons, classes, etc and be a part of somethign; and have a high day or weekly rate for those who want to do extended projects. (Don't ask them to pay $600 a year, ask them to pay $300 a week when they have a project they need to get done.)
      • engage in some group projects that attract visibility (members work on a book/folio and have a public signing; a poster for a charity event, etc)
      • Develop a relationship with a library or university as a source of contacts, expertise, venues for publicizing.
      • Work with local arts umbrella organizations.
      • Patience.Patience.Patience

      Best of Luck!



      --- In PPLetterpress@yahoogroups.com, Steve Robison wrote:
      >
      > OK. Give me some on-list feedback.
      >
      > I'm trying to start this reasonably priced "Community Print Center" in Burlingame, California (about 15 miles south of San Francisco) for those who don't have a working letterpress shop/studio of their own, or for those who have their own shop/studios but from time to time might need larger equipment to complete special projects.
      >
      > I think $50per month is an extremely reasonable amount for a brand new, fully outfitted shop with several platen presses, a Vandercook proof press, lots of type, instructional programs, guest letterpress artists, art exhibit space, 24 hour 7 day a week access, neighboring studios and an art community for collaboration and inspiration, etc.
      >
      > I'm modeling it after "Em Space" in Portland, Oregon which has been wildly successful.
      >
      >
      > But so far I haven't had enough people sign up to make it a reality.
      >
      > So what am I missing? What would make it a place you would want to go to for your letterpress wants and needs?�
      >
      > Let's have a little online dialog...
      >
      > Let the suggestions and fantasies roll...
      >
      > I want to create something that letterpress enthusiasts will be so excited about we'll have people lining up for it...
      >
      > Thanks in advance for your creative thoughts.
      >
      >
      > --Steve
      >
      >
      > Steve Robison
      >
      > robisonsteve@...
      >
      >
      > -- this message was sent by monks from the 14th century who calligraphically scribed each letter prior to the invention of moveable type
      >
    • Amber Ellis-Seguine
      Lol. Bill all good points but you have little background to go on to assume many, although not all, of these issues have not been addressed. Steve is extremely
      Message 2 of 10 , Feb 2, 2013
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        Lol. Bill all good points but you have little background to go on to assume many, although not all, of these issues have not been addressed. Steve is extremely cautious and smart and already has a plethora of equipment. 

        I think playing devils advocate is important. We just have to keep in mind email has no tone and we might not have the full picture. We can be supportive and realistic all at the same time. 

        If I know anything about Steve he has crunched the numbers and realizes how many ppl he needs to make 50 bucks a reality. 



        On Feb 2, 2013, at 10:43 AM, nohogallery@... wrote:

         

        Put a hold on the fantasies.

        I have founded and operated two successful community based workspaces. 

        $50 a month is silly.  Try $250 a month and sort out the people who are not really serious.  Maybe four hours for $50.

        The biggest problem is space hogs.  You will get a small group of regulars who will be there 24/7 running their etsy businesses, pushing out the new folks..."oh I have just 250 more owl cards to print, why don't you go sort some type".

        You need cheap equipment.  Not $12,000 eBay Vandercooks.  Your list of equipment, if you just went out and had to get it today, is a very large budget.

        Also you need a mechanically savvy person on site to keep it all working.  All you need is 20 members waiting three months until the Vandy is up and running again.

        And make sure everyone puts in highly regulated clean up time.  It takes no time at all to turn a California job case into a useless mess.

        Don't forget insurance and written disclaimers for everyone.

        24/7?  That's the kind of schedule that you come in and equipment is damaged and no one is around to blame.  The worst care of equipment comes from people who do not own it.  I ran a workshop once for only professionals ...they broke more equipment than a similar sized group of high school students.


        And if you make it non-profit with a board of directors don't be surprised if you get kicked out or need to leave some day.

        The best run workspace is one with a geekish benevolent despot in charge.  Someone to tell a space hog or annoying person to hit the road.  A person who can fix everything in the shop.  And there will be people who need to be sent home.  You put out a welcome mat and they will find you.

        Isn't Burlingame a high priced neighborhood?  Why not interest a community college in the idea.

        Sorry to be a downer, but I've done this, and it is really hard to make it work and still be fun.

        Good luck

        Bill Muller
        Big Wheel Press






        -----Original Message-----
        From: Steve Robison <robisonsteve@...>
        To: Steve Robison <robisonsteve@...>
        Sent: Fri, Feb 1, 2013 3:53 pm
        Subject: [PPLetterpress] Community Print Center Questions...

         
        OK. Give me some on-list feedback.

        I'm trying to start this reasonably priced "Community Print Center" in Burlingame, California (about 15 miles south of San Francisco) for those who don't have a working letterpress shop/studio of their own, or for those who have their own shop/studios but from time to time might need larger equipment to complete special projects.

        I think $50per month is an extremely reasonable amount for a brand new, fully outfitted shop with several platen presses, a Vandercook proof press, lots of type, instructional programs, guest letterpress artists, art exhibit space, 24 hour 7 day a week access, neighboring studios and an art community for collaboration and inspiration, etc.

        I'm modeling it after "Em Space" in Portland, Oregon which has been wildly successful.

        But so far I haven't had enough people sign up to make it a reality.

        So what am I missing? What would make it a place you would want to go to for your letterpress wants and needs? 

        Let's have a little online dialog...

        Let the suggestions and fantasies roll...

        I want to create something that letterpress enthusiasts will be so excited about we'll have people lining up for it...

        Thanks in advance for your creative thoughts.

        --Steve

        Steve Robison

        -- this message was sent by monks from the 14th century who calligraphically scribed each letter prior to the invention of moveable type

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