Sharing Arts starts classes, works toward new Dublin venue

  • The Sharing Arts ceramic center in Dublin Village Park. Courtesy photo—

  • The new home of the Sharing Arts ceramics studio in Dublin Village Park. July 24, 2020. Staff photo by Abbe Hamilton—

Monadnock Ledger-Transcript
Published: 7/28/2020 1:24:44 PM

The Sharing Arts community negotiated a lease for a ceramics studio in Dublin last week, but still need about $28,000 and equipment donations to move in, organizer Kimberly Kersey-Asbury said last Friday. Meanwhile, a mix of in-person and virtual classes are accepting registration on the MAxT Makerspace website.

The recent award of $62,500 in tax credits for the ceramics studio was a great surprise for a fundraiser conducted in the middle of a pandemic and economic crash, Kersey-Asbury said.

“We didn’t expect anything from the state… because budgets are contracting,” she said, but they pulled together $35,000 in pledges from local donors in just a couple weeks and ultimately landed the credits from the state’s Community Development Finance Authority, which they can sell to pledges and other local businesses.

Partnering nonprofit MAxT Makerspace received $24,000 during NH Gives as well, she said.

The ceramics studio is a new chapter in the past year’s quest to meet the needs of the local artist community following the Sharon Arts Center’s closure. Stakeholders identified the need to gather as a community, access communal equipment, and conduct classes while minimizing the overhead associated with maintaining a building and staff, Kersey-Asbury said. Peterborough’s MAxT Makerspace had a similar structure and an existing nonprofit status and served as a willing partner as the nascent Sharing Arts Center organized itself, she said.

“The name represents the concept of making use of existing resources and organizations,” she said, while reflecting the organization’s departure from its Sharon center.

The ceramics center, in the Dublin Village business center on Route 101, will include exhibition space including a display case in the front entrance where local artists can display for-sale works, Kersey-Asbury said.

Sharing Arts recently negotiated a lease for the space and has set up a donated electric kiln in a temporary space while waiting for the rest of the funds necessary to move in. “December is what we’re aiming for,” Kersey-Asbury said.

Wilton potter Patsy Belt said the ceramic studio’s new location is a hike for her, but sees the proximity to Keene as a potential draw. “Sharon was kind of out of the way, too,” she said, and that she mostly hopes the new location is convenient for young people to access. Belt has spent the last year working in other area studios as well as her own, but said she values community studios for the access to gas kilns and other equipment that individuals usually wouldn’t buy. She said she also looks forward to a return to independence after the last several years that the former Sharon Arts Center spent as a component of a larger organization.

“We really liked being a nonprofit because you had more control over the programming and everything else,” she said. Belt is spearheading the search for donated equipment for the new space.

Finding a ceramics space was the most costliest venture of all the other mediums Sharing Arts eventually wants to support, Kersey-Asbury said, and subsequent efforts will include accommodating fiber arts, drawing, painting, and general sculpture in communal spaces. Kersey-Asbury said she intended to ask New England College for some of the equipment and materials from the Sharon Arts Center, and that there are ongoing talks about potentially moving the Fushigigama anagama kiln to the Dublin School campus in the next two or three years, where the labor-intensive, multi-day firing process could involve students in the process. “I think it’s an exciting prospect,” Head of School Brad Bates said.

Classes are a mix of in-person and virtual and are scheduled through August, including drawing, paper arts, and ceramics in a variety of venues, including outside the Makerspace and stone carving classes are being set up for the fall, Kersey-Asbury said. The Makerspace and the Dublin Library are contributing outdoor space for some classes.


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