Organization Mission and History: In 2007, a group of interested community members, artists, a property owner and the City of Batavia started developing a plan for artist studio spaces. In the spring of 2008, a group formed Batavia Artists Association (BAA), what we now know as Water Street Studios (WSS)
The Batavia Artists Association at Water Street Studios incorporated as a 501c3 nonprofit arts organization in the state of Illinois in 2009. Our mission is to help make the arts accessible to the Fox Valley area and beyond. Our vision is to be a cultural hub in the Midwest. Our organization is aims to include and recognize all regardless of race, age, culture, ability, ethnicity or nationality, gender identity and expression, sexual orientation, marital status, religious affiliation, and socioeconomic status. We are wheelchair accessible. We offer non-gender restrooms.
Pursuit of Excellence: During our 10 Year Anniversary Celebration we had the pleasure of hearing from many of our past and present board members, instructors, donors, students, and resident artists. They shared stories about how their child decided to pursue a career in the arts because of the classes they took with us, or how they met their best friend during one of our events, or how they felt exhibiting their work for the first time. The stories about how Water Street Studios impacts our everyday lives continues to mold and shape the strength of our community as a whole.
Our award-winning galleries host 24 exhibitions every year featuring the work of over 100 local, regional, and national artists. Each month we hold a gallery opening that is free and open to the public for our community to meet exhibiting artists, resident artists, and one another. We foster a safe space for people of different backgrounds, perspectives, and experiences to connect in new ways. These exhibitions are juried and curated by a dedicated group of volunteers that rely on your support to continue to manage and market new exhibitions every month.
The original purpose of creating an art center in downtown Batavia was to address the problem of artists not having affordable places to create their work in the area. Water Street Studios provides subsidized rent for working artists to create, exhibit, teach, and sell their artwork in a collaborative environment. We provide 24/7 access for our Resident Artists that occupy our 25 artist studios, so they are supported in their creative endeavors. Water Street Studios relies on grants, individual support, and earned revenue to cover the remaining 60% of expenses to maintain a secure, comfortable, and operating space.
In 2020, Water Street Studios increased their community partnerships by 50%. We currently host classes, workshops, and demos in four local area libraries, two retirement communities, and an early education center. During that year, we estimated a total of 1,500 students served through our School of Art program from over 70 cities. 64% of students served are under the age of 18. 36% of students are over the age of 18. A majority of our grant-funded programming goes to support students under the age of 18.
Why We Need You: Water Street Studios survives off of the kindness of our community. A majority of our classes and outreach are funded by private donors. We maintain our existence because of individuals who care about the arts. The pandemic has hurt us, and we need your help to continue on!