As spring blossom petals drop down to nourish the soil beneath their branches, a new 5,200-square-foot artistic gathering space will be opening its doors. Envisioned to be “the creative vortex of the community,” The Draw will be taking over the old Riverside Paper building nestled along the Fox River in Downtown Appleton next month.
John Adams, curator and manager of The Draw, wants the renovated space to be a “playground” for art as a place for all to be a part of the creative energy summoned and nurtured. “We want people to feel this is a place to come and hang out and take in the energy of what’s going on, get immersed in art, books, music, poetry and more.”
Inspired by the well received Feather & Bone “Lumberwoods” themed pop-up art gallery, Adams organized during this past summer’s Mile of Music festival, the ambitious local artist, film and music maker is passionate about his vision for the new space that he expects will be an evolving creation in its own right.The expansive main floor gallery will be the primary hub for people to gather, engage, and share art. It will also be rentable for special events centered around creative expression. The space should accommodate anywhere from 75 to 100 people.
Couches and comfortable seating conducive to conversation will be added, as well as a Euro-style coffee/refreshment counter with a pass-through window and awning. Visitors on-site will also have complimentary access to The Draw’s free W-Fi. Installation of a surround sound system with connective piping is also in the plans.
Private studio space, business offices and meeting rooms will take up the second floor and lower level. The basement floor door will feature access to a dock on the adjoining river.
According to Adams, one-year leases for all 15 available creative studios at The Draw have been spoken for. The eclectic range of tenants will include a painter, printer, web designer, body art/tattoo artist, graphic designer, photographer, videographer, musician, video projection specialist, stained glass artist, and sculptor.
Adams says he “hopes the building can evolve and shed new light on the arts we haven’t fully experienced in the area,” adding that “It takes a community too get behind the project and show their support.”
Fortunately, the show of support has been tremendous so far. “Neighbors pop in all the time to welcome us. Curious passers-by want to know what’s going and really seem excited about what we’re doing.”
Bountiful appreciation has been extended to the many enthusiastic community volunteers who have given a hand with everything from financial backing, physical labor, design assistance and beyond. There is still a great deal of work to do before doors officially open.
“Together, we are learning as we go. This is an ongoing collaboration and an evolving dialogue. The space will ultimately represent the community’s creative needs and wants.”
As their website states, “The Draw combines workspaces and offices of digital and fine artists, a modern art gallery and a place to collaborate. The flexibility to adapt to the needs of the community and the artists is what makes The Draw unique. From pop-up restaurants, to fashion shows, storytelling nights and music, if you have an event/idea this may be the place to be!”If Harold and his purple crayon were here in the Fox Cities, one could imagine his delight with such a place. Perhaps he would ride down the river in his boat, landing at The Draw’s water splashed dock, following a moonlit path to the door, then drawing a ladder where he could peer in the windows to see all the magical happenings swirling around inside. Would he add his own art to the walls, inside and out? Would he sketch music notes to dance about the space? How far would his imagination take him?
How far will yours take you? What do you wish to create?
The path to The Draw beckons. Welcome, creative souls of the community… welcome in!
The Draw is located at 800 S. Lawe Street in Appleton. Check out The Draw’s website for more information about how to get involved: thedrawappleton.com