Woodshed Agency CEO Jeff Wenzel, Thistle Rose Academy of Arts founder Rachael Rose, and KickstART Farmington Executive Director Dwayne Hayes stand in the front gallery area of their new shared space at 33304 Grand River Avenue in downtown Farmington.

Woodshed Agency CEO Jeff Wenzel, Thistle Rose Academy of Arts founder Rachael Rose, and KickstART Farmington Executive Director Dwayne Hayes stand in the front gallery area of their new shared space at 33304 Grand River Avenue in downtown Farmington.

Photo by Donna Dalziel


Farmington organizations find home together in downtown

By: Jonathan Shead | Farmington Press | Published November 12, 2019

 Hayes checks out the gift shop of the new shared space.

Hayes checks out the gift shop of the new shared space.

Photo by Donna Dalziel

Advertisement

FARMINGTON —  Three local Farmington organizations have found a permanent space together in downtown Farmington.

KickstART Farmington, Thistle Rose Academy of Arts, and Woodshed Agency have all opened up shop together at 33304 Grand River Ave. All three companies were in need of a permanent place to call home, so when KickstART Executive Director Dwayne Hayes came to them with an open building and an opportunity, the others quickly jumped on board.

KickstART Farmington is a nonprofit that supports the arts and local artists through a variety of events. They’re well known for the Greater Farmington Film Festival. Learn more at www.kickstartfarmington.org.

Thistle Rose Academy of Arts is a nonprofit that provides community members educational and performance-based programming from performing arts to technical arts, culinary arts, and applied arts. They perform various productions within the community throughout the year. Learn more at www.sites.google.com/site/thistleroseaoa.

Woodshed Agency is a team that partners with individuals and other businesses to help them with crowdfunding campaigns, social media and other digital marketing tasks, video production, public relations, and more. Learn more at www.woodshed.agency.

The new space will feature a gallery and exhibition space for artists to showcase their work, a gift shop for chosen artisans to sell their wares, and an office space shared by staffers of the three companies.

Hayes said the acquisition of the new space happened where countless other business deals have: over coffee.

“We (the Downtown Development Authority board) have been trying to create more energy and passion around art in downtown,” said Tom Buck, the majority owner of the property and a Downtown Development Authority board member. “(Hayes) had a compelling vision for what he wanted to do and accomplish, and that made sense to me. I thought it could work.

Hayes admitted he didn’t expect to find a permanent location for KickstART as quickly as he did.

“The space, being what it is, it has its limitations, (but) the three of us felt like this was a good start to make something happen,” he said. “All these kinds of creative endeavors seemed to be a good fit that would complement and supplement each other and allow for various uses of the space.”

With three partners working creatively in three different capacities, Thistle Rose founder Rachael Rose said she has a feeling the space is going to be pretty busy.

“In the beginning, we were thinking, how are we ever going to fill the space? But now I think it’s quickly going to be, how are we going to schedule all the things we want to do? And I think that’s amazing,” she said. “That just gives you a sense of the need and the desire to have a vibrant, artistic outlet and life in our community.”

Whether it’s 4- to 6-week exhibitions, a monthly reading series that will return, acoustic lunchtime concerts, artists and creatives networking sessions, educational programming or small productions hosted by Thistle Rose Academy, or bringing the Innovate Farmington series — hosted the first Tuesday of every month at 6:30 p.m. by Woodshed Agency — into the space, it’s sure to provide a bustle of creative activities for the community.

Those are just the events the partnering companies have planned already. As they begin to open their doors and invite people in, they’re hoping they can continue to grow with the community. Hayes said his ultimate goal is to have a larger space and create a community arts center downtown that combines a number of creative, artistic groups in the Greater Farmington Area.

“We have a lot of ideas for things we want to do as we grow, and we want to hear what the community is interested in,” Hayes said. “We see this (space) as kind of a laboratory or experiment for making those larger dreams happen in the future on a bigger scale.”

KickstART Farmington is currently seeking artists and creatives who would like to feature their work as an exhibition, on their walls or in their gift shop. Interested artists can find more information at www.kickstartfarmington.org/kickstart-gallery-shop.

While the space is currently open, they will have an exhibition of Eana Agopian’s work from 6-8 p.m. Nov. 15, marking the grand opening of the space, Hayes said.

A volunteer meeting for anyone interested in getting involved in any of the three organizations will be held from 6-7 p.m. Nov. 18 at the space.

Advertisement