Running a small nonprofit is hard. It is hard every day. It is exhilarating to do something we love. It is scary to risk doing something we love because it doesn’t pay as well. We also have faith that the progress we’ve attained through a decade of hard work will continue and the financial incentives will improve. 

Over the past 10 years, it has been our mission to support artists with all the resources we have.

When we started Studio Two Three almost ten years ago, we had no financial resources. We borrowed equipment and worked service industry jobs to split the rent for our shared Plant Zero space. Ten years later, we are finally getting to the point where I only wake up a few nights a week worried about if we can pay the bills. This week we learned a broken compressor in an HVAC unit would cost $2,000 to fix. Just a few years ago, this would have shut us down; now its a challenge but we can swing it.

We have physically grown rapidly over the past few years, saying yes to opportunities that were only open for a short time in order to expand into a larger space in October of 2017. We have been working as an organization to build a board that believes in fair pay and compensation for employees and in the wider need for artists’ support in our city so that we have greater resources to invest.

As we approach our tenth birthday, it’s time to take our support for artists to the next level.

I wrote this Op Ed to confront some of the challenges that small nonprofits face in providing healthcare and benefits, and more broadly, calling for Richmond to create a holistic support network for our artists and creative entrepreneurs. This is our charge, and we’d love for you to join us.

If you are all-in on supporting our creative community, please read below and contact me at ashley@studiotwothree.org

Click on the image to read the full Op Ed.

Click on the image to read the full Op Ed.

Excerpt from the Op Ed:

“In my experience, individual artists are hit particularly hard by the challenge of procuring health care and career support. We can look to organizations like Assets for Artists in Massachusetts or New York’s Creative Capital as models for providing artists with robust, holistic support. It will take time and we will have to confront the reality that Virginia law is inherently unfriendly to workers. But we have to start somewhere.

Studio Two Three is all-in on supporting artists. We are all-in — and we need help.

I am asking for input, advice, resources and suggestions for partnerships to help create a mechanism for collectively providing business training, career support, and education on health insurance options for our growing community of artists right here in Richmond.

When this exists, we will really be a Best American City for Creatives.”




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