West Market Makers Opens
Seven years ago, community leader Andy Gibson (then Executive Director of The LOT Project) envisioned a community arts space on West Market Street close to downtown Anderson. (LOT is an acronym for Least of These, a reference to Matthew 25:40. The LOT Project was founded in 2009 to minister to the families and children of the Alphabet Streets neighborhood.)
Since then, lots of fundraising, the identification of a vacant warehouse in the same building as The LOT Project, and lots of remodeling culminated in the June 2023 opening of the West Market Makers at 302 West Market Street.
There are 7000 square feet (including the AHOP building, which is the back end of the West Market Makers building and is currently used for storage). A total of $363,000 has been raised through grants and private donations for a down payment to purchase the entire building (300-302 West Market Street) and to fund renovations upstairs.
One person very involved in this project is Anderson Artists Guild member Shea Abramo, who serves as Artist in Residence. “My role is to give this place a vibe,” she said. Lately, that’s involved a lot of painting and sharing some of her own supplies.
There is also a full-time employee, Teresa Bauer, a local poet and writer who serves as the manager.
Right now, the Makerspace offers open-door hours every Monday and Friday from 2-4 p.m. The public is invited in to use the co-creative space as desired at no charge. But the goal is memberships: $15 per month for studio access, $35 per month for both studio and workshop access. Additional support comes through grants. These funds will help support the goal of offering art-related classes.
There are cubicles downstairs for creative work, but grant-funded renovation is underway upstairs to create additional cubicles and office space, as well as a classroom. The workshop is set up for woodworking and welding, with all of the equipment donated.
But the “vibe” created for this building is just part of a larger dream of Abramo’s, which is creating Anderson’s first arts district.
Approval has already been given for several murals that will be painted on nearby businesses by local artists. And Abramo has applied for a grant from the Asphalt Art Initiative to make the nearby intersection not only safe but beautiful. Someday, she says, there will be art everywhere.
There are many opportunities in our town’s newest arts collective, from painting murals to teaching classes to renting studio space. For more information about the West Market Makers, visit https://thelotproject.com/ministries/#makerspace.