Is MAMA a true collective? A co-op? A nonprofit? A business?

– Betsy Wallace

As we start to pick up steam, I’ve been getting these types of questions a lot:

What exactly are you all doing here?

What are you hoping to accomplish?

What are your goals?

What is the vision?

I thought I would first share the artist statement that I wrote for the San Francisco Coffee Shop show as a way to put a finger on exactly what we are doing and trying to accomplish.

The Atlanta-based MAMA Art Collective was founded in March of this year by a few crafty, community seeking women with young kids.  The concept was designed to fit a very specific need: a place where moms could get together to work on projects, write, knit, scrap book or just be creative while the kids were taken care of, cooperatively by members, in a separate play space next door.   

Being creative and breaking out of the relentless everyday routine can be hard.  The hope is that this space makes it easier.   Although members don’t always work on something “crafty,” they do come with an open mind and a willingness to play around with this gift of space and community. MAMA currently meets at Martha Brown UMC in the heart of East Atlanta Village .

This is the collective’s first show and features the work of several artists.  Some are professionally trained while others are experimental amateurs.   It has been exciting and deeply gratifying to see women working together, learning from each other and developing friendships based on the shared philosophy of living a more creative life.

And also…

MAMA Art Collective is an experiment in social entrepreneurship: can we create a sustainable venture by providing the structure of a traditional creative collective (providing an opportunity to create, show and sell work as part of a group), paired with cooperative childcare, and shift the management burden from the group to the owners to alleviate the time/energy demand on women with young children.  We believe, deep down in our heart of hearts, that this busted up business model will work.  Melanie and I founded this with the hope that we could eventually also contribute to the East Atlanta community as “Main Street” small business owners. Grow up. Move out.  Share the MAMA love with more people. I feel like we’re getting closer everyday.

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