Today, we are welcoming to “7 Questions” …. Stuart Naranch, Production Manager of Art Enables! An entrepreneurial arts program for area adults with developmental or mental disabilities, Art Enables provides opportunities for the creation of “outsider” and folks art, which is then marketed at exhibits in the studio, through local retailers, and online. Participants also receive 60% of the sales of individual pieces and flat fees for designs. Do browse the store and check out the events calendar — so awesome!
1. What was your most interesting recent project, initiative, partnership, or event?
I think it has to be moving our studio to its new location on Rhode Island Ave NE from New York Ave NE. We have had more drop-in visitors in the first months of being open than all the time in the old location and there is a great sense of community and more opportunities for neighborhood partnerships.
2. What else are you up to?
We are always busy trying to develop new products for our artists’ portfolios. We want to create art works that can be displayed in non-traditional manner that are suited to our new neighborhood.
3. Is there a moment, person, or event that inspired you to do this particular work?
I would have to say that my time as a Peace Corps Volunteer in Bangladesh was pretty influential in my career path. My experience really opened my eyes to the grass-root efforts of the non-profits there and upon my return I received my Master of Arts Management and Masters from the Heinz College of Public Policy and Management at Carnegie Mellon University.
There was also a person from Australia who found us online and wrote: “I just wanted to say what a powerful entity you have set up and many could learn from you all. Developing similar studio spaces and programs has been close to my heart for many years.”
It’s nice to get random comments like this!
4. Who is your hero in the nonprofit/philanthropy world?
At the moment I would say Muhammad Yunus, the founder of Grameen Bank and Nobel Prize winner. I was in the Peace Corps in Bangladesh and I saw the direct impact of the micro loan program that he introduced.
5. What is the single greatest (and non-financial) challenge to the work that you do every day?
Multitasking: we all share hats and it often seems like there is never enough time in the day.
6. What advice do you have for other people who want to work in your field?
Make connections, find others who like what you do, share ideas and see if anything develops.
7. What’s next?
I need to jump off the computer and hang some birdhouses that our artists made. Spring is in the air and the birds are coming back!