The Future of Follow Your Art: The Journey Continues.
When FYA began 10 years ago, there was only one thing about which I was certain: I wanted to make creative art experiences available to everyone, regardless of ability. The greater Melrose community responded warmly, and I have been immensely grateful for the support the studio has received.
Through the years, we’ve worked to provide a safe space, access to art materials and a balance of structure, knowledge and experimentation to encourage creative self-expression for hundreds of individuals. As our community has grown and the studio continued to evolve, our philosophy of art for all has led to financial decisions that support this idea.
FYA has absorbed yearly rent increases for the last 5 years with no increase in class tuition. We provide whatever tuition assistance we can for families who need it. We partner with community organizations whenever we can to offer free creative opportunities in the community. This is part of what makes Follow Your Art a community studio, and it is a vital part of our identity.
This month our rent will increase 20%, and officially outpace our ability to do what we do without some major changes. As rents continue to increase on Main Street, we’ve concluded that our current studio space is not our permanent home. Therefore, this will be our final year at 416 Main Street; Follow Your Art will be moving by June of 2019.
That gives us a year to think about next steps. It also means we will need to cover this increase in a way that is keeping with our philosophy. Read on to see what we’ve decided to do:
- Starting in September of 2018 we will increase our tuition costs. The increase may be as much as 20% of current tuition costs but we want to keep it below that (see #3 below!). We will let you know by August 1st.
- We are setting up a Go Fund Me Page to raise money for financial aid to keep our programming open to everyone. Donations of any amount will be used to assist to our artists who request assistance.
- Go Fund Me requires us to establish a target amount. We are setting it at $6500 which would offset our increased rental costs this year and provide a modest financial aid cushion for scholarships. Any increase that must be made in September will be determined by the funds we raise. If we reach this goal by August 1st we will not raise our tuition at all.
That gets us to June 2019. What then?
I will be dedicating a good amount of my energy this year looking for the next step for FYA. My intention is to help it find a new Melrose home, and evolve in whatever way it needs to accomplish this.
My hope is to work with artists, space owners, cultural groups or ANY community members who want to develop a collaborative, multi-modal community art space in Melrose. I have only a vague vision of what this could be, but I know it will require more knowledge, energy and resources than I have alone. If this is something you would like to see in our growing Melrose, please get in touch!
We at FYA like to ask where your art will lead you. As we continue on this new bend in our journey, we’re inviting you to come along and see where it leads us.
With love and appreciation,
Kris and the FYA Team