Art Restart Blog

Have you heard about Art Restart? October 31, 2016 09:02

Have you heard about Art Restart?

You may have heard about it through The Gathering Place, or maybe someone sent you a card that prompted you to look up the organization on the back. Regardless of how you got here, welcome!

For me, the new Business Development & Marketing Associate for Art Restart, the program came into my life through word of mouth. Living in Denver, there is art running through every neighborhood. Commissioned murals on the sides of buildings and monthly art walks make art part of our everyday lives.

But who are these artists? Many of them have no formal art training. Many of them make art on the side and work full-time. Many of them have experienced homelessness at some point in their lives, or are currently homeless.

Walking into the art studio at TGP for the first time, I felt welcomed. It was like I entered a café where artists occupied every space with their art materials strategically organized to create one-of-a-kind handmade pieces. The artists measured, cut, glued, painted, and drafted designs for The Card Project while they chatted and enjoyed the space.

One of the artists walked me through The Card Project process. Although separate from the cards sold through Art Restart, this is often where greeting card designs are created. Three times a week, artists can use the art studio to work on designs for cards to sell at TGP, through our vendors, and online with Art Restart. They’re given card stock with TGP’s logo on the back. Then, they create. Once they’re finished, each artist puts their cards in their box to display on the shelf. Some of the cards are unique designs that you’ll only see once, while others are recreated to make a set. Artists can choose to submit their card designs to Art Restart and have the opportunity for their art to be turned into traditional greeting cards.  

As I looked through the boxes of cards, I was astounded. The members at TGP are talented. There is a card for every occasion and then some. Whether you’re looking for a pressed flower design, Colorado scenery, or even Judge Judy, you’ll find it in the artists’ boxes.

Receiving mail and selecting a card with a beautiful design is uplifting. With Art Restart, sending mail is just as uplifting as receiving it.

Teresa, the Director of Art Restart, says, “Art Restart allows our artists to be who they are now and also provides a path to who they want to become.” The energy in the art studio embodies this.

If you haven’t heard about Art Restart, it’s time to check it out.   

Pumpkin Patch by EHS

Today's featured image is Pumpkin Patch by EHS

Press Release: Teresa Densmore June 21, 2016 11:30

Contact:         Deb Radman
The Gathering Place Appoints Densmore to Head Art Restart
TGP’s Social Enterprise Features Original Art and Greeting Cards
DENVER, June 20 – The Gathering Place (TGP) has named Teresa Densmore as Director of its social enterprise, Art Restart.  Art Restart provides customizable greeting cards with unique art created by members of TGP who are experiencing homelessness and poverty.
Densmore has worked for over a decade in the nonprofit sector and knows firsthand the challenges that nonprofit organizations face. Having recognized how business concepts can be brought to bear on these challenges, she invested in an MBA, concentrating in Nonprofit Strategy and Operations. “I am eager to use my skills to continue building The Gathering Place’s social enterprise program,” says Densmore. “I’m passionate about working with our artists and supporting them as they use this opportunity to make a positive impact on their lives.”
According to many experts, most social enterprises and even small business start-ups struggle to reach immediate profitable growth.  Art Restart was profitable from the start, increasing net profit by 61 percent by the end of its second year of operation.  Even more important, says TGP President, Leslie Foster, “Participating artists not only earn income, but they also are learning how to produce commercially viable artwork.
“The social enterprise business model is helping us generate revenue and is demonstrating that non-profits can build a sustainable future,” she continued.  “At a time when accountability is severely-challenged, Art Restart proves that we can positively impact the lives of those we serve, help fund TGP’s mission, and be true partners with our sponsors and donors.  But that’s not all,” Foster says.  “We are also providing the public a simple way, through the use of socially responsible greeting cards and direct mail, to engage and support the homeless. “  
About The Gathering Place
TGP created Art Restart as a social enterprise to provide its members with opportunities to earn money and to build earned revenues.  For 30 years, TGP has offered essential resources and personal growth programs to women, children, and transgender individuals during the day.


Why a Social Enterprise? How Art Restart benefits The Gathering Place August 24, 2015 12:41

Social Enterprise is the current buzzword in nonprofit land, most likely because the previous buzzword, ‘sustainability,’ called for a new way of thinking about funding. Traditionally, nonprofits receive funding via grants, donations, fundraising activities, and for some organizations, through the services they provide to clients. In our current economic climate, many organizations are looking for new ways to increase their income and make themselves more self-sufficient. While a social enterprise can take on many characteristics, Art Restart, the social enterprise that benefits The Gathering Place, is a program that functions like a business in order to generate revenue for the organization.

So what does that mean? For The Gathering Place, a day-time drop-in shelter that provides women, children, and transgender individuals experiencing poverty and/or homelessness with a safe place to spend their days, it means more money and thus, more programming. TGP relies on donations, foundation grants, and fundraising initiatives to supports its building, programming, and staff. However, in order to sustain our programming, which includes serving three meals a day to anywhere from 250 to 350 unique visitors each day, TGP needed to find additional revenue streams beyond the traditional nonprofit financial model. Thus, Art Restart was born!

In October 2014, Art Restart launched for the holiday season, and within three months, sold almost 35,000 cards and actually made money; $32,889 net profit, to be precise! Plus, Art Restart distributed almost $1,800 in royalties to the artists. Every artists at The Gathering Place has the opportunity to submit work to be featured in the Art Restart catalog. If her art is purchased, the member will receive royalties of the net sale. Industry standards for greeting card royalties are 1-5% and our artists are at the top of those figures with 5% royalties. Our artists love Art Restart, because a single piece of art has the potential to sell numerous times. Additionally, our artists feel happy to contribute to this program that actually makes money for The Gathering Place. “I consider this my way of giving back to The Gathering Place,” artist OUI states, “which has given me so much.”

How can Art Restart work for you? While our Card Project program is great for purchasing single cards, Art Restart provides those same unique, handmade cards in large quantities, which is perfect for businesses, schools, organizations, or individuals looking to send out cards in bulk. Cards can be purchased in quantities of 50, 100, 250, and up with significant price breaks starting at 1,000 units.

The front if the card features a specific work of art, chosen by the customer, and printed on high quality card stock. The back of the card includes information about Art Restart and The Gathering Place, letting your network know that this card demonstrates your dedication to support women and children in need. The back of the card also has space to put your company’s logo; a unique co-branding opportunity that connects your business to The Gathering Place!

Art Restart is a unique departure for The Gathering Place, but it has been successful, not only for the organization, but for the individual artists. We hope that you will help support our social enterprise and the numerous women, children, and transgender individuals in need who benefit from Art Restart's success!