June 7, 2023

Diving Deep: Site Visits Give MCF Staff Insight

By Julia Carabelli

Last week, MCF staff had the pleasure of visiting three very different nonprofit organizations working in the Madison community. MCF’s Community Impact team makes regular visits to area nonprofits, getting to know them better and seeing what they are doing first-hand. To help the rest of the MCF staff also deepen our knowledge, they plan site visit days. Regardless of affiliation to MCF, the staff is always excited to learn more about the unique role each organization plays in the Madison community. During this trip, staff visited Art + Literature Laboratory, The Bodgery and the Pinney Library.

Art + Literature Laboratory

Jazzmine, Julia and Liz at ALL

Our first stop was Art + Lit Lab, where Co-Directors Jolynne Roorda and Rita Mae Reese warmly greeted us. ALL’s mission is to steward a community laboratory for creative experimentation, collaboration, and excellence in contemporary visual, literary, and performing arts. In 2020, ALL moved to its new space, in the Capital East neighborhood, equipped with multiple galleries, performance space, private studios, a writing center, small-print library and convertible classroom space. This 10,500 square foot space is one of few in Dane County that provides artists with individual studio space and writers with free collaboration space.

Angela at ALL

ALL is quickly becoming a place for artists of all kinds in Madison and has flourished post-pandemic. ALL has received more than $200,000 in grants from MCF since 2018, including $25,000 toward its capital campaign for the new building.

ALL continues to grow and work with more arts groups in Madison, like stewarding the Women Artist’s Forward Fund. As the organization looks to the future, it is considering how to ensure the organization’s longevity and the support it provides to artists in Madison for generations to come.

The Bodgery

Our next stop was the Bodgery with tour guide Jay Larson. The Bodgery began in 2013 as a makerspace where members could share tools and exchange knowledge, skills and passions. It has since grown into a 21,000 square foot space packed to the brim with equipment and artists working in every medium imaginable. Members at The Bodgery have shared access to tools for woodworking, welding, sewing, screen printing, book binding, glass working, pottery, jewelry-making and much more.

Tom at the Bodgery

Members also have the opportunity to rent private studios, when space allows, and offer classes and host events that are open to the public. The Bodgery has experienced tremendous growth, and remains a completely volunteer run organization. MCF’s Community Impact team has met regularly with Bodgery volunteers to explore ways that the organization can grow and expand sustainably.

Pinney Library

The last stop of the day was the Pinney Library on Madison’s East side. The new Pinney Library opened in 2020, just days before the start COVID-19 pandemic forced it to close its doors to the public.

New Pinney Library

After two long years of curbside pickup and social distancing, Pinney was able to begin using the space at full capacity. Now, Pinney Library offers art activities in the studio, reading time in the multi-functional children’s reading and play area, snack time on the patio and quiet spaces and conference rooms, which are all free to the public.

MCF is proud to have helped play a role in the opening of the new Pinney Library, by providing a $25,000 2:1 challenge grant in 2019 to strengthen the Pinney Library Endowment Fund and increase its long-term financial stability. MCF stewards 13 endowment funds for the Madison Public Library Foundation, including the fund for the Pinney Library.

Thank you to each of these organizations for allowing MCF to tour and learn more about how they are each supporting unique groups in the Madison community. MCF staff looks forward to seeing the growth of these organizations as well as visiting more Dane County nonprofits in the future.

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