Guttenberg Creativity Center is a private non-profit organization in Guttenberg, Iowa. Our mission is to provide opportunites to learn about and participate in the arts. Housed in a 200-year old, historic limestone building in a small, rural community in NE Iowa situated along the MIssissippi river, we host a gallery on the first floor and a community art studio on the second floor.
This program began in our art studio on the second floor with an after-school fine arts program for our local school district. We provide this via scholarships to kids in 4th grade through 12th. Every child who applies receives scholarships making this program available at no cost to the community, schools, or the familes we serve. This is our 10th year providing this program. Participants have had oportunities to make and keep stained glass, kiln-fired glass, mosaics, wheel pottery, paint your own pottery, easel painting in all paint mediums, mixed media, alchohol ink, inkwash, and more.
Guttenberg gallery, located on the first floor, evolved shortly after the after-school program began. This gallery features the work of area artists, providing them a venue to showcase and sell their art. We've entertained over 50 area artists in the gallery, many of them who continue to exhibit year after year. This includes hanging art, pottery, lampwork glass, stained glass, kiln fired glass, jewelry textiles prints, photography, and more. These artists teach classes and help us in the after-school program.
Our most recent and final program is our Courtyard Cafe , a youth driven coffee shop with both indoor seating in the gallery and outdoor seating in our attached , colorful Courtyard. This program was developed by students in partnership with the Boy Scout Explorer program. Our Courtyard is also used to showcase area musicians who have had multiple opprtunities to perform.
This program relies on volunteers, donors, grants, and income from the gallery and the Cafe. Guttenberg has a significant tourist popultion from Memorial Day through October. Our art studio operates as a retail art studio and attracts many tourists and visitors; and, generates sustainable income. That said, this organization is not 100% sustainable. Additional fund raising includes hosting private parties, corporate events, live music in our Courtyard, art classes, and partnering with local bussiness owners to hold events.
This program was founded by Director, Cindy Olsen, a licensed mental health counselor with a private practice in Guttenberg. "I felt that there was a lack of resources in the community for youth and adults, and particularly for kids who don't participate in sports." Our building was secured initially with a handshake, a land contract, and ultimately a mortgage with a local bank. The building was uninhabitated and in sad need of renovation. $5000 seed money from our Director, and successful grant writing allowed us to completely renovate our building including new windows, doors, flooring, lighting, electrical, HVAC, bathroom, and commercial kitchen. Volunteers, family and friends and family used tire chains to expose the original limestone walls in the gallery and install flooring and some lighting - donated by the Olsen family. Much of the rest of renovations was made possible with a Pepsi grant.
Ten years of programming was made possible as funding oportunities were available. In addition, Olsen and her husband (volunteer) provide at 30+ hours/week covering hours in the studio and gallery; and, providing the organization and manpower for all the fund raising events. It is unrealistic to assume they can do this forever. Now the organization is at a pivotal point, where by hiring youth staff to cover program /gallery hours, we will have to learn to become sustainable with volunteers and employment of local kids.
A significant amount of funding is needed to move this program forward. The bones of the program are intact and we have enjoyed a successful ten years because the program has been carried by oy our Director. While supervision and planning will still be managed ths way, operating hours will be with paid employment of area youth and volunteers. This requires operating capital not only to employ youth but to provide long term program planning as oppossed to planing when we have the funds. The entire program is relies on this. With your help, this program will move forward and obtain long term sustainability.