What’s an Art-O-Mat?
Take a former laundromat and liquor store on 7th and Washington, renovate it using part of the $3 million in Vacant to Vibrant plan funding, and open it to the neighborhood — that’s the Art-O-Mat.
What is it for? Lots of things. It can be used as a meeting space, a place to hold workshops, art exhibits and classes. A space where the community can do community things, rather than sitting empty.
“Since our soft opening in June 2023, we have offered several programs to the community of West Center City and surrounding areas,” CaDeidra Jarmon, community engagement and programming manger at Wilmington Alliance, the economic development org behind the project.
That’s included a trauma-informed yoga program, poetry classes with Christian Wills, and the introduction of the space’s inaugural artist-in-residence, Edward Williams, in July. Williams “facilitated six community programs in which the community was hands on helping him to re-create the 1950’s inspired art piece called ‘Boys to Men,'” Jarmon told Technical.ly. “His residency was in partnership with the Delaware Art Museum.”
In September, the Art-O-Mat welcomed Mariposa Arts with Vanessa Simon, who is currently hosting biweekly art classes through her Healing Through the Arts program.
Urban Yoga, a men’s health and healing-focused yoga program in partnership with Jason Aviles of Flyogi and Green Box Kitchen, also started in October with an eight-week, 16-class program.
“Lastly, but not least, we welcomed to the Art O Mat our second Artist in Residence, Shefon Taylor, who will be in residency through December and offering a community project to close out our 2023 season,” Jarmon said.
Knowledge is power!
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