Year of growth for Water Street Studios
Organizers at Batavia’s Water Street Studios will be busy in the coming months with shows, new board members and possible expansion.
A performance by Chicago-based dance company, Core Project Chicago (CPC) is scheduled for Friday, Jan. 11 at the nonprofit, located at 160 S. Water St.and the gallery space will feature work from artists for the Winter Show.
Organizers also are reaching out to local property owners and municipalities for space to house a new printshop facility. The expansion is being completed with the help of grants from the Kane County Riverboat Fund, Community Foundation of the Fox River Valley, Gaylord and Dorothy Donnelley Foundation and the Arts Work Fund for Organizational Development.
Much of the activity is being led by new members of the WSS board of directors, including Hennie Reynders, associate professor at the School of the Art Institute, Alvaro Amat, director of exhibition design at the Field Museum, Laura Spicer, curator at NeXt Gallery in St. Charles.
Jim Kirkhoff, an original co-founder of WSS, recently sat down with the Republican to talk about some of the upcoming events and many changes on the way for the Studio.
What can people expect from the CPC dance performance on Friday?
[CPC is] a contemporary dance company which integrates video into its performance to help show the story that they are telling. They like to perform in nontypical settings for performance art. The piece is called “6 Women” and it contains six different pieces. They’re going to integrate the audience into it. They’ve really set a high bar for themselves by coming into this space, because it’s not a typical dance space.
What can people expect from this year’s Winter Show on Jan. 18?
This is our 11th show. Every (show) has a different personality. We have quite a few artists who have not shown here before, and some of the artists who have shown here before are bringing significantly different work. The commonality with all of our shows is that they’re very contemporary in nature. It isn’t anything that you find in the suburbs. We’re doing things to attract very established artists to make more of a commitment to us.
Why does WSS need a new printshop facility?
Print media has become a very big class. We (previously) had people in classes who didn’t have the equipment to accomodate what they wanted to do. We were awarded a grant and purchased a professional press. We also have a large format print for digital art, other equipment and two more presses in storage. The intent of the program is to give people with experience in print-making a place they can work, and to give students a place they can develop artistically. The facility would be available to them for $30 a month. We have $12,000 worth of equipment and a huge demand, but we need a new facility for it.
What does having new board members mean for WSS?
Hennie (Reynders) is a professor of architecture (at the School of Art Institute) and Alvaro (Amat) is a an exhibition design director at the Field Museum. They bring amazing experience. The five founders of (WSS) were not ideal board members. (The orginal co-founders of WSS include Jim Kirkhoff, Joi Cuartero, Steven Lockwood, Kari Kraus and Sharon Sychta). A proper board for a nonprofit should be a policy-making and a fundraising board. It’s a way to take the organization from a grassroots enterprise to the best management process for a nonprofit.
Why did you become involved with WSS?
My background is in engineering and project management. My wife and I got involved because we loved the idea of having (art) students, a gallery and an education space. We wanted to see how we can make that available to kids who didn’t have the financial means to pay for it. Over time, I just got more involved.
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