Where is the Cherry Pit Collective located?
604 E 31st in Kansas City, Missouri
What is it?
Cherry Pit Collective is a communal studio space for artists, makers, and creatives, where the work and vision of women are emphasized and celebrated. Members work together to support and promote each other through a shared workspace and jointly share work, costs, benefits, and risks. Monthly programming includes classes and events for skill sharing within our community and to foster collaboration over competition. All are welcome to apply for studio spaces and to attend our events, but female-identifying artists and members of other marginalized communities are prioritized.
How did it start?
I was looking for a studio space for my hand papermaking setup, and I really missed the communal studios I was familiar with from art school. I happened to see an article in the paper about Maker Village, a new community wood and metal shop, and contacted them to see if they might have space. They did, and loved the idea of artist studio spaces. I started forming and refining the idea with my friend, Adri Luna, while working with the landlords to design and build out the interior space. In June of 2016, we ran a Kickstarter to raise $10,000 for our deposit and final build-out of the space.
Was it always an all women’s space?
Our original mission was to fill our studio with awesome, hard-working artists and makers. The first dozen happened to be female-identifying which worked so well that we decided to intentionally move forward as an all-women’s space. We’ve found our members feel comfortable and safe while working, as well as relaxed and free to be ourselves, which can be challenging in male-centric workplaces.
What have been the biggest struggles so far?
In the beginning, we had trouble finding the right balance of work between our members. As the members have grown to know and trust one another and feel autonomy and agency as members of the collective, it has been increasingly easy to divide tasks based on personal interests and skills. Our members handle all aspects of managing our collective. This includes cleaning, promotional work, class programming, event coordination, and member recruitment.
Any advice for someone wanting to start a space like this somewhere else?
Be sure to do the research on expenses to accurately price your studio spaces. Your studio will likely need to pay monthly for: electricity, water, gas, trash pick-up, renters and liability insurance, internet, a security system, web hosting, paper products and cleaning supplies. Add up your expenses and divide them across your rental spaces. Accurately calculating your expenses will set the collective up for financial success from the start.
Where can people find the group?
Check us out on instagram! @cherry_pit_collective
What do you envision for the future of the space?
We hope to grow our class offerings and to expand our reach within the Kansas City area. We want to share our members’ knowledge and skills with a larger audience. We also have a fun Holiday Pop-up Shop in the works!
What kinds of things would someone find if they visited?
We currently have 21 members, and our spaces are full! We house jewelers, painters, designers, illustrators and a photographer, a milliner, and a ceramicist. Our members make everything from quilts with hand-dyed fabric and prints of brush-lettered quotes, to laser-cut palo santo.
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