Cherry Pit Collective hopes to thrive in redeveloping 31st and Cherry area

fountain-pic-3-2More and more people who refer to themselves as entrepreneurial artists are gravitating to a redeveloping part of Midtown – the area around 31st and Cherry. Now members of the Cherry Pit Collective – self-described as “communal studio space for artists, makers and creatives” – are hoping to jumpstart their efforts to move into a refurbished historic building at 604 E. 31st in August.

Adri Luna, associate director of the Cherry Pit Collective, says the idea has been percolating for several years.

“There are a lot of makers and creators in Kansas City, but it is really hard for them to find studio space that is both safe and affordable,” she says.

inside-1That means many artists and makers are working from their dining room table, having meetings in noisy coffee shops, and sometimes renting affordable space in sketchy parts of town.  While the Crossroads has developed into a thriving arts district, its success has led to higher rents that make it out of reach for some.

The Cherry Pit Collective hopes provide an alternative.

“The Cherry Pit Collective will provide a dedicated space for our members to create, meet and make! We will leave our houses and apartments, and arrive at the Cherry Pit, ready to work, with full focus, plenty of space, light and community,” the group explains on its website. “We will no longer be isolated or feel lonely in our homes – we will have a safe environment for the development and growth of our female-fronted businesses.”

In addition to offering safe, affordable space, Luna says the group also wants to build community. She points out that some artists prefer to work alone, but others miss the kind of camaraderie they may have found in art school.

“People will be able to talk to other makers and bounce ideas off of them,” she says. “Lots of ideas come from the time you are together.”

Growing community at 31st and Cherry

Luna admits that when she came to Kansas City six years ago, people warned her to avoid the area.  But over the past few years, the area around 31st and Chenry has been reclaimed by folks taking advantage of its great location, sturdy commercial buildings, and affordable prices.

The Maker Village has purchased the building next door and plans to open a community space where people can use commercial woodworking and metal working equipment. The 816 Bike Collective owns the building just across Cherry street. Other neighbors include Oddities Prints, Inner Space Yoga, and  Attitude as well as the Filling Station coffee shop and You Say Tomato restaurant.

more about the history of the area

Two fundraising pushes for the Cherry Pit Collective

13532977_1717408421832760_4157845353203511485_nThe collective now says the building owners have been rehabbing the space for a year and are ready to put in the final details. The collective has an active Kickstarter campaign, hoping to crowdsource lighting, heating, cooling and other necessities.

The collective also is planning a fundraiser open house on July 8 from 6 to 11 p.m., which will feature food, drinks, games, live demos and a chance to tour the not-quite-finished space.

Luna says it will be a great opportunity for people to really get an understanding of what the collective is all about.

“People really don’t understand it until they see it,” she explains.

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