There’s always something interesting happening at Glass Axis! We know the last two years have been an exhausting time while we’ve all been navigating this COVID world. In all truth, we’ve come through this time better than most similarly-sized organizations. We’ve made some much needed improvements to our studio. We’ve found better ways to utilize space. We’ve put numerous practices in place to keep our members and our staff safe, both COVID and glass field related. We’ve replaced one annealer and one glory hole, improved our torch and kiln areas and, of course, replaced both furnaces. Thanks to every member of staff for making all of these improvements.
The future continues to look bright for Glass Axis! Because of numerous funding opportunities available through small business recovery programs, we are in a very stable financial situation. As you all know, the glass business is expensive. We work very hard to keep expenses as low as possible, and continuously look for new ways to diversify our revenue streams. We’re offering an exciting slate of summer intensive classes this year, and we hope you’ll look into participating in one or more of these this year.
During the last two years, the board has been almost singularly focused on securing the future of Glass Axis. Not just our financial stability, but also our physical location in Franklinton. Since moving here in 2014, Franklinton continues to grow and change around us. A couple of months ago, we began talks with our landlords to make sure we are able to stay in our current location for a very long time to come. At this same time, they were approached by a development team that offered “potential redevelopment of 610 W. Town St into mixed-use, mixed-income housing in the next couple of years”. Preliminary plans showed Glass Axis being a part of this new building space, taking up the street level space, but with overall decreased square footage. When the development team was presented with some of the unique building and space needs a glass studio would require, it quickly became apparent that we could not afford to stay in a lease scenario in this new building space, even considering downsizing and working with less square footage.
By now, I’m sure you’re realizing that this means the current building will be torn down and a new one built in its place. Glass Axis is not included in the plan for this new building. As long as timelines don’t get pushed further out, in a little over a year, we will no longer have this physical space to work out of. We have been assured that until the wrecking ball pulls up outside, we will be able to stay and continue operations. While yes, this is a scary proposition, we’re choosing to look at it as a unique opportunity to not only spread our wings deeper into the Columbus arts & cultural community, but also secure all of the opportunities we offer to Columbus artists.
This next couple of months will be a flurry of activity. We have a number of different ways this could all play out. We will be reaching out to several of our neighboring organizations to first and foremost secure temporary workspace for our members and be able to continue offering classes to the public. We will absolutely be exploring the possibility of buying our own space, so that we never have to go through this process again. We want to stay in Franklinton, or as close to downtown Columbus as we can, but spaces like this are getting fewer and further between, but we are ready to look everywhere to find a new home for Glass Axis. The other absolute is that previous mistakes in situations like this will not be duplicated. We will not rush into anything and we will listen to the expertise of those who have come before and those working in the fields that would most benefit the organization. We will listen to all of you, the members and supporters that have stood behind Glass Axis for so long. You all offer a wealth of knowledge and experience in what is needed to build, continue, and maintain a great glass studio…and we really do want to hear from you. We’ve set up a new email address, just for this purpose. Please give us your thoughts, comments and suggestions at email@example.com.
We know this information leaves you with many questions. Some are going to wonder why we didn’t share any of this information sooner, and the simple answer is, we wanted as much guesswork as possible removed from the situation. That’s where we are now. This is happening. Our best course of action is to spring to action and make educated, well-thought-out plans for the future. The board and staff were made aware of this situation earlier this evening and they are fully supportive and behind the actions we are going to start exploring.
So, please also consider this email an invitation to an all-member meeting. We will hold an in-person member meeting here at Glass Axis on Thursday, April 7 at 6:00pm. This event will also be live-streamed, so that you can tune in and ask questions even if you can’t be here with us. Like the glass we work with, we want to remain as transparent as possible through this process. We want to thoughtfully answer every question and address every concern you have. At this meeting we will share some preliminary scenarios that board and staff have been discussing. We are committing to sending out regular member-only updates about plans and how they’re proceeding. The email address I mentioned will be regularly monitored and responded to. Please send as many questions in advance of the meeting as possible. As always the director’s door, as well as the board president’s door, are always open. Please feel free to schedule some time in advance if you’d like to meet in-person, as staff is still working remotely when needed.
As always, we continue to be so very grateful for all of you and everything you do to make Glass Axis great. The time and resources you share with us are always acknowledged and appreciated. Please take the opportunity to check in with us and let us know that you got this message and to share your thoughts and ideas!
Melody Reed Courtney Marx
Executive Director Glass Axis Board President, Glass Axis