We hope you all enjoyed this past Labor Day weekend and the cooler weather. Until now, it's been a hot and sticky summer – so we're happy for the cooler temperatures and looking forward to the bright colors of Fall. Despite the heat, we've had a lot going on and, the Summer seems to have gone by so quickly. There have been outdoor BBQs, the Artist-in-Residence program, on-going building improvements, as well as a wide variety of workshops and community initiatives designed to impart business expertise, camaraderie and good will.
We’d like to share with you some of the recent wonderful initiatives that help make this place so special. The Pajama Factory tagline “Dream it, See it. Do it” really captures the essence of this newsletter and all of our events over the last few months. Lots of “doing” blossoming from lots of “dreaming”.
As always, we thank each and every one of you for dreaming along with us.
– Mark and Susie Winkelman
Lisa is one of our newest tenants. We are currently helping to get her Clearstory space primed and winterized to handle any event need. She is an adjunct professor at Penn College and will be providing event-planning services, hospitality business consulting, and training and development for hospitality employees right here at the Pajama Factory. In addition to the fabulous space she has to offer for weddings, fundraisers, birthdays, retirement or holiday parties, she is establishing the first and only nonprofit, shared commercial kitchen in Williamsport. The kitchen will allow members of the community to rent certified kitchen space to produce food items for either sale or family enjoyment. If you are interested in helping her with this endeavor, Lisa has a fundraising site at the Williamsport Community Kitchen building fund.
A special good will initiative
On May 10, 2003 Tommy Grieco was in a motorcycle accident that left him paralyzed from the chest down. He spent 2 months in the hospital and rehab learning how to adjust to a life turned upside down.
Tommy has been an artist at the Pajama Factory for many years and recently, other tenants began to notice that his wheelchair was showing signs of age—unsurprising considering it was the same chair he had purchased right after his accident 13 years ago. The tires were bare; the brakes didn't work and couldn’t be repaired; his chair back pad was missing and he was susceptible to pressure sores; the front wheel bearings and much of the hardware was rusted throughout making his chair difficult to adjust. Tommy’s insurance company refused to cover the cost of a new chair that would allow him the ability to enjoy life more fully – a life that offered him full mobility and would allow him to enjoy the outdoors – one that could make all the difference in the world to him.
A resident at the Pajama Factory began an online fundraiser and, within a few days, 127 friends and factory co-tenants had donated $5950 not only covering the cost of a new chair, but also helping provide Tommy with other items to improve his life, including a new shower bench and an updated ramp for his home. The fundraiser was a heartwarming testament to the strength of the Pajama Factory community: A lot of people care about each other here.
Here is Tommy's story in his own words.
Free educational opportunities
For seven years, the Pajama Factory has hosted an Artist In Residence program inviting artists from all different genres, cultures, and countries to come and create in the factory, working alongside other artists and taking advantage of what Williamsport has to offer.
Inspiration can be as valuable as air to artists so introducing new creative minds into the community through the residency program helped feed that need. This year, the four artists that were part of the residency program were from as close as Philadelphia and as far away as Amsterdam. In addition to hosting a closing gallery show, the four residents were asked to give back to community with free workshops and programs.
The artists this year included:
- Brigid O'Brien, of Philadelphia, who works in sculpture and installation. During here time at the Factory, she worked on 2-3 larger-scale paintings and two-dimensional works. Her community outreach program focused on teaching new techniques of pulp-making and creating a textured surface with an overlay of sculpture and painting.
- Carlijn Claire Potma, of Amsterdam, Netherlands creates, in her own words, “art made with pricks in paper.” These "light drawings" as well as other series of pencil drawings were a beautiful inspiration to the community. Her class explored the relationship of art and nature using the ideas of Paul Klee.
- Jacquelyn Hurwitz, of Dover, New Jersey, a recent graduate in photography from Kutztown University, worked on building her portfolio. She focused on her "make it, shoot it" approach and "unusual humorous content." Jacquelyn taught her class how to make the perfect pinhole camera, and then practiced shooting with it and exploring the creative possibilities of low-tech photography.
- Matthew Adams, of Cape Coral, Florida, is a candidate for a masters degree in fine arts at Florida State University. He was drawn to the residency program because of the unique darkroom here capable of wet plate collodion. While at the Pajama Factory, he worked to create pieces using that process. Matthew led a community outreach program in teaching tintype photography.
On another note, there is also now a space on the 4th floor – donated by Boulder Design Group – that has been transformed into an educational “Maker” Space, available for anyone to come and collaborate on projects. The group is starting with micro-controllers and single board computers, as that's what they have the most experience with, i.e., Raspberry Pi, Arduino, Wemos D1 and ESP8266 programming (Beyond my understanding!!) There will also be a heavy focus on how to use this knowledge towards interactivity with art projects which will be particularly relevant for building tenants!
The Pajama Factory is the perfect hub for individuals to find those with like interests. Whether through impromptu get-togethers or more structured events, there seems to be something for everyone. For instance, the second Open Mike Night invited music lovers to congregate in our community room. We also have members of a home schooling community that get together once a week to share ideas (and lunch). And then there’s the gardeners, woodworkers, potters, book clubs, and our annual Fashion show that highlights the wonderful creations of many of our building designers (while raising money for a good cause). One of the more recent groups established is #PJFWomenMeetAndGreet, a gathering of woman here at the Pajama Factory who have been meeting based on the idea that woman thrive when they collaborate.
A lot of work is being tackled this summer. A new roof was installed on one of the loading docks. Windows continue to get attention. With in-house labor we are able to replace rusted out sections of the steel frames by welding in new material, caulk the perimeter of the windows, replace the badly cracked window panes, and install foam gaskets around the operable sashes in an effort to reduce air infiltration — the biggest source of heat loss. We are remodeling the bathrooms on the third and fourth floors, installing blinds(manufactured right here in the building by long-standing tenant, our own Equinox), and three large studios have been subdivided into seven more affordable spaces
The big project, however, is getting the Clearstory weather-tight for year-round use by Andrus Hospitality, now the exclusive management company operating the Clearstory event venue at the Pajama Factory. This has required, you guessed it, more window work. For the upper windows we are replacing are all 120 of the cracked 2’ X 5’ antique wire glass panes with multi-wall polycarbonate sheets. This will be a huge energy saver and as a bonus we are looking forward to recycling some of that fabulous antique glass else where in the project where is can be appreciated up close.
Finally, the much awaited KINBER fiber optic internet service is now here in the building! We are starting with 100Mbps of bandwidth at Gigabit speed. The 100-year-old Pajama Factory now has the hottest internet service available in Williamsport — incredible! Gamers will totally love the speed and so will serious business users.
On a self-promotional note, we would like to remind folks that, in addition to the artist studios, we also have some larger spaces that just might be the perfect place to build, grow or move your business to! Here's one on the 2nd floor with 1,869 square feet. It's mostly open, but has two small private offices as well.