In Focus: Community Partnerships
Rather than focus on one particular tenant this newsletter, we thought it would be appropriate to focus on the partnership of folks for our Saturday Market Days–kicked off this past November. During the winter when the Farmer’s Market vendors couldn’t meet in the traditional summer outside location, a number of these vendors, joined by a group of artists, craftfolks and musicians, met at the Pajama Factory in a warmer, open indoor setting. Hats off to Erik Guthrie of Erik’s Edibles for helping to organize this and we look forward to having an even bigger showing next Fall/Winter.
Summer harkens a time of courtyard BBQs, ice coffee from Way Cool Beans, downtime spent relaxing in the colorful Adirondack chairs adorning the courtyard (made at the Community Woodshop at the factory), and fresh vegetables and herbs grown by tenants in the building gardens.
In celebration of the terrific summer we have been having, we thought it only appropriate to celebrate those ‘partnerships’ that have become so valuable to our ever growing community at the Pajama Factory. Partnerships at the factory are formed every day; creative partnerships, business/government partnerships, community partnerships and wonderful friendships amongst our diverse building tenants.
And of course, we would be neglectful if we didn’t acknowledge the importance of the partnership we have with each and every person who supports our efforts at the Pajama Factory by reading our newsletter and continuing to champion our endeavors.
Thank you all.
– Mark and Susie Winkelman
Partnership with the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania and the City of Williamsport
Back when we purchased the property, the City applied for and received a Community Development Block Grant for the Pajama Factory from the PA state government. The city, in turn, loaned the grant money to the Pajama Factory. The Pajama Factory has been repaying the loan and the City is now able to use the repayment funds in any way it sees fit. In short, the Pajama Factory has enabled the city to receive nearly $600,000 from the State that it would not have otherwise been able to get. And that is not all the State is doing; they are helping to fund the non-profit efforts in the building that benefit the neighborhood and the community as a whole.
We also continue to work in partnership with the local city officials–leveraging our status of being in an Enterprise Zone while beginning to set the stage for the next chapter of our building development. This includes the expansion of our current available spaces, comprised of studios/stores/special event spaces to also include residential lofts (our first residential loft recently passed all city codes and is now occupied).
Additionally, the city has been working with us to map out parking plans for the building (to assure we can eventually accommodate expanded residential usage) while helping us work through the requirements needed to subdivide the property into smaller parcels. This will enable us to move development forward in a more manageable way. A huge thanks goes out to all the city officials who have been working with us so closely to achieve these goals.
Partnerships with Local Schools
We value our partnerships within the community and continue to seek out ways to extend these–-and that is particularly true with local school outreach. For the third year in a row, we have worked with Pennsylvania College of Technology’s Architecture department. Each year students have modeled final projects on the Pajama Factory, culminating in showings of their visions with a reception at our factory. Recently, we also had the opportunity to host Bucknell’s Arts Entrepreneurship class. Students were "beyond inspired", "amazed", "surprised" by the space and called it a "masterpiece", with "positive energy of creativity oozing from the walls". Wow! (Check out the letters they sent us reflecting on their visit to the Pajama Factory).
In addition to all the wonderful professors and teachers who have spaces in the building, we would like to pay tribute to Andrea Varner, Pajama Factory tenant and Williamsport Area High School art instructor, who helped organize a field trip to the factory for 70 students to study The Center for Creativity Gallery exhibit, "Behind the Art of the Picture Show," by Factory alumni and published illustrator, Laura Knorr. The students used their experience to collaboratively create illustrated books of their own based on their choice of an historic event.
The First Annual MayFest
MayFest was a whopping success this year with art openings, craft displays and the kick-off of the non-profit Clay Studio and Bicycle Recycle Shop all brought to the community through a partnership between the sponsors of the event (the Pajama Factory and the non-profit Center for Creativity).
Particularly impressive were the strong partnerships that were required to pull off the STRUT fashion show which featured models who wore fashion designed from our factory community see photos. A huge applause for this wonderful showing of fashion and design and a special shout-out to Val Beggs who was key in organizing the event!
We are excited to announce the update of our website design that was developed through the collaborative efforts of Lee Mandell, Jesse Holt and Scott McAuslan–working closely with our Pajama Factory staff. It is worth checking out!
– Mark and Susie Winkelman