It is hard to believe it’s already August…I’m never sure where the time goes these days. (I’ve even noticed some of the leaves on the trees turning a bit yellow!) That said, I’ve had the pleasure of enjoying our beautiful courtyard this summer. The gardens are looking fabulous thanks to our wonderful garden committee and the lovely efforts of Cris Knell. And the gardens have been a perfect backdrop to the “Courtyard Series” events program (yoga classes, BBQs, Kids Art, and music events) that have been scheduled throughout the summer.
While the courtyard has been in full bloom, things are also “blooming” elsewhere in the building — with improvements and construction underway and a constant buzz in the hallways. Our building crews are working diligently to complete new studios and are making progress on additional exciting upgrades and projects — we’re hoping to get the new passenger elevator completed up to the roof by the end of the year (keep your fingers crossed!).
We also hope you will get a chance to visit and see all the progress we’ve made. Mark your calendars for the weekend of October 6th and come out for the 2nd Annual OctoFest (if we don’t see you before then!)
– Susie and Mark
We are very happy to have Brian Spies heading up the Factory Works Gallery space as part of Factory Works. Brian joined the Pajama Factory community early on in 2008 (right after we purchased the building). The gallery itself is a space for artists to experiment materially and conceptually, and for the community to engage with work that challenges notions of what art looks like’. Monthly exhibitions are hosted throughout the year, except for the summer when the space is used for the annual Artists-in-Residence Program.
Founded in 2011, Factory Works is a non-profit arts and community organization whose mission is to provide the local community with resources for nurturing artists and innovative thinkers, to ignite a spirit of creativity. Donations for the arts programs are always welcome!
The Inaugural PA Wilds Entrepreneurs Conference
We were thrilled to host the inaugural PA Wilds Creative Entrepreneurs Conference and Annual Dinner celebrating 15 Years of the Wilds at Work networking event in late April.
More than 250 business and community leaders from across the Pennsylvania Wilds, along with state partners and officials from Harrisburg, gathered for the dinner on Thursday night and the first ever Creative Entrepreneur’s Conference on Friday. They were there to get an update on the state and local efforts to grow the region’s economy and recognize award winner Champions of the PA Wilds while “Celebrating 15 Years — The Wilds at Work.” This non-profit is committed to integrating conservation and economic development in a way that strengthens and inspires communities.
While attending the event, Department of Community and Economic Development (DCED) Executive Deputy Secretary Scott Dunkelberger joined Lycoming County Commissioner Rick Mirabito and officials from the Department of Conservation and Natural Resources for a tour of the Pajama Factory and to meet with one of our makerspace’s tenants, Equinox, a manufacturer of outdoor recreational gear.
“We are proud to help our entrepreneurs and small businesses turn their ideas, hopes, and dreams into reality, and we are committed to making it easier than ever for small businesses to start and grow in Pennsylvania,” Executive Deputy Secretary Dunkelberger said. “Small businesses like the companies at the Pajama Factory play a vital role in supporting our state economy and we’re proud to support their growth.”
On August 7, 2018, the League of American Bicyclists awarded Factory Works, the 501-c3 non-profit that includes Bicycle Recycle Shop, a bronze medal as a Bicycle Friendly Business. This is the only business in Williamsport to receive such an award. The award is in recognition of the services offered such as a hands-on repair service, an earn-a bike program, selling reconditioned bikes and accessories like helmets, locks, and lights and cooperating with social agencies in providing classes for teens.
The organization also worked with city planners to expand bike riding lanes. Importantly, bikes donated stay out of the landfill and, so far this year, they've sold 119 bikes and helped 109 people with repairs. Consider a donation Factory Works (the umbrella non-profit that Bicycle Recycle is part of) to support this worthy cause.
We set up an AirBnB in the building this summer and had incredible success with visitors signing up as they passed through Williamsport. We were booked most of June/July until our full time renter arrived in the building and moved into the furnished apartment (a young engineer moving to town from Texas). With this in mind, we are planning to build out at least another furnished apartment for short term stays as part of our current construction. (So don’t be afraid to come out for a visit as there will be a place in the building for all our friends.) Stay tuned!
The Factory Works Artist-in-Residence Program
Every year we host a variety of artists from outside the immediate Factory family to join us for the summer and work on their creative projects. We enjoy seeing what these artists bring to our community in the way of new vision, thinking, and ideas. “Close to Home" was the culmination and closing pop-up exhibition for this year's program, and featured artist's that all reside in and around Williamsport, Pennsylvania (a change from the many international visitors we have had in the past).
They were chosen to participate in this year’s program with the stated intention of creating work larger in scale and scope than their usual working space would allow. By creating works in mediums as varied as fibers, sculpture, painting and photography, they represent the diverse array of practices emblematic of the spirit the Pajama Factory Artist-In-Residence Program has embodied since it inception.
600 sheets of sheetrock and over 1000 metal studs!…Our focus these days is the push to accelerate the development of the Pajama Factory. We are constructing 36 new studios on the 3rd and 4th floors — mostly smaller as we find that the smaller sizes are the most desirable. (If you’re interested we're are starting a pre-lease program for these units. With a pre-lease, we allow you to reserve a unit by signing a pre-lease agreement and making a modest security deposit. This holds that particular unit in your name until it is move-in ready. You can get more information about pre-lease by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org with your request and contact information.)
Additionally, we are renovating bathrooms and creating four smaller residential units. We have also recently completed upgrades to the ClearStory events space with new air conditioning, heating and lighting (including programable colored mood lighting). The ClearStory can now host events throughout the year, not just during the temperate spring and fall seasons. We’ve also ordered wood to create a new gate for the courtyard (the work just starting), and planning is ongoing for a new entrance, gallery space, office space, conference rooms, elevator, parking lot and landscaping around everywhere. So much to do but so exciting to see all the changes!
The courtyard is filled with flowers and we have had a number special events that take advantage of this great community space.
We are also very excited to have a new mural recently painted by Jesse Draxler—a world renowned artist out of LA, added in the courtyard. Jesse is a fine artist, illustrator, art director and designer whose art leverages deconstructed images that incorporate found photos, abstract painting, and design, often in black and white with obscured faces. The resulting pieces have been described as ‘dark and intriguing’. What do you think?
In Closing: So much to explore at the Pajama Factory!
And we look forward to showing you around!
– Susie and Mark Winkelman