Foundry Art Centre

Organization Information:

Organization Name:
Foundry Art Centre
City & State:
Saint Charles, 
Organization Website:
Organization's Mission Statement

To bring to a diverse community, visual arts, performing arts, and artists by providing exhibitions, studio space, and educational programs that inspire.

Submission Information

Impact Essay

The Foundry Art Centre opened in May, 2004 with a vision to become an exciting and dynamic art center for the greater St. Charles region. Once a train car testing facility the 38,000 sq. ft. building, is now home to over 26 working artists studios, a 5,241 sq. ft. Smithsonian caliber gallery space, a performing arts stage, and a 6,000 square foot Grand Hall, which can host a variety of special events and concerts.

The Foundry has been tremendously successful, with tens of thousands of visitors from around the country each year, helping a wide audience understand and enjoy contemporary art. The Foundry Art Centre features three Smithsonian-caliber gallery hosting national and international fine art exhibitions and curated shows. The schedule of exhibitions for visual arts in Galleries I, II, and III is booked through the end of 2011 bringing innovative, creative, and up-and-coming works to the region. All of the shows are professionally vetted by a guest juror.

The Ameristar Gallery plays host to the Foundry’s Emerging Artist Series. This series acts as a spring board for emerging artists. Artists who show exceptional promise are given the opportunity to present their work to a regional audience. Emerging artists are nominated by arts professionals or can self-nominate if they have the support of two professionals from the artist advisory board.

The Baue Children’s gallery is designed especially for children and families. The Children's Gallery at the Foundry includes innovative and challenging work by K-12 grade students working in all media, as well as art materials and supplies so that young visitors can create their own masterpieces.

Art education is an important aspect of the Foundry Art Centre: Both adult workshops and youth programs are offered in order to give individuals the chance to continue and expand their creative education. The Foundry offers summer youth art camps as well as classes through out the year. These programs combine art history education with creativity, and are often filled to capacity.

Located on the second floor of the Foundry Art Centre are twenty leased artist studios with 26 artists working in various disciplines. The public is invited and encouraged to visit and interact with the artists in their natural habitats [or studios]. The interactive quality of the studios adds another layer to the scheduled educational opportunities that the Foundry provides.

The Foundry’s Grand Hall provides rental space, performance space, and the permanent home for the St. Charles County Symphony Orchestra. Concerts, performances, and exhibition/studio openings enhance the public engagement with the arts, while providing an entertaining evening.

Admission for the Foundry is free; however, there is a free-will donation box at the entrance. Attendance for the past four years has exceeded 400,000 guests and the audience continues to grow.

Microsoft Usage

• Microsoft products are used to manage events, exhibitions, membership, and educational programs. Microsoft Entourage and Outlook are used to manage email communication with clients, customers, caterers, visitors, members, studio artists, exhibition artists, service contractors, and the general public interested in programming. These endeavors, while sometimes behind the scenes, are critical in ensuring the Foundry’s efficient operation.

• Microsoft Excel is used to manage special events held in the facilities. Excel is formatted to keep an updated status on a booked event by tracking payments, and issuing invoices. Various reports are generated for the Board of Directors to assess progress, budgets, and general operations. Formulas and categories are generated for accounting purposes to record revenue and expenses for the specific event. When information changes, data is reentered to keep the digital information current and keep the records in order. Excel worksheets are also created to track caterer commissions for events. Reports are generated and invoices are created depending upon what is owed for the next month from each specific caterer. Letters are generated in Microsoft Word and Entourage to communicate with clients and caterers renting the facility. Specific issues are addressed and questions are answered within the printed/emailed letters so that the event runs in the most efficient matter.

• Microsoft Excel is also used to manage membership. As a 501©3 non-profit organization, the Foundry relies on membership dues to help support and sustain general operations, exhibitions, educational programming, and related cultural events. Membership renewal letters are generated in Microsoft Word after review of their current expiration status in Microsoft Excel. An individual’s information is transferred from a list to a letter in a matter of seconds. Administration relies on Microsoft applications to keep updated records of members and donors to the organization. Member’s current mailing address and information is transferred to labels and printed so that each member receives postcards, updates, and news regarding the organization via postal mail.• Past and current exhibition artists are cataloged in Excel spreadsheets. Those updated sheets are used to write or formulate grants or transferred to the Foundry’s online email marketing database system. Members, exhibition artists, and related affiliates are distributed current email newsletters designed by the Foundry administration. Excel spreadsheets are also used to manage educational programming. Teachers, educators, parents, and students are listed in specific categories according to the interest of the individual. Those worksheets are then used to generate letters, postal mailings, and email announcements of upcoming programs. Excel files and worksheets are then used to track payments, records, and other specific information in relation the student attending a workshop/program. Reports are generated and merged and then updated monthly for the Executive Director and Board of Directors to assess and review.

• Microsoft Power point is used to catalog data and visual images for juried exhibitions, which rotate in the main galleries every 6 weeks. The jurors use this visual presentation to judge artists creations and accept or deny artworks for the themed exhibition. The accepted entries are noted, and a list is generated in Microsoft Word of the accepted artworks. Artists’ statements along with printed visual images are placed in a gallery catalog for visitors to view during the exhibition. A digital catalog formatted in Power Point is burned onto a CD with the accepted artworks/artists and the product is sold as an educational tool and record for the exhibition artists, arts professionals, and educators.

Submission Category
Optimize Mission Delivery