Woodland Pattern Capital Campaign
Building a Plan
Woodland Pattern is currently housed in a storefront on Locust Street is Milwaukee, which has reliably served as bookstore. archive, performance space and gallery. After a commitment of 39 years to the Riverwest community, during which it has become an anchor for the neighborhood, the Center now faces a pivotal point in its history.
Woodland Pattern's founders have shepherded the organization faithfully through the years with both artistic insight and inspired vision. As it moves toward a new generation of leadership, Woodland Pattern must operate without subsidy from its founders, and needs to strengthen its operations to make strategically oriented choices in the future. The building housing the Center for the past 39 years needs extensive renovations that include providing disability access.
To address these critical needs, a Woodland Pattern Planning Committee has carefully mapped out a strategic plan, which has taken into consideration cost, timing and viability. It encompasses three critical initiatives.
Envisioning the Future of Woodland Pattern
1) Purchasing the Current Property
The Strategic Plan calls for purchasing the property currently being rented on Locust Street, the same building that has housed the Center 39 years. The decision to purchase has a two-fold basis: to recommit to revitalizing the Riverwest neighborhood and to follow sound economics. After careful review of the real estate market, it is clear that other properties in the same price range would require a challenging move of inventory and extensive renovation. In short, the cost to move would be greater than purchasing and renovating the present facility.
2) Renovating the Center
Woodland Pattern is in need of renovations in order to improve the accessibility and comfort of the space. Improving visibility of the interior with its many bookshelves, various program activities, and reading areas will encourage more walk-in traffic, and the building itself will appear more welcoming. Adding a first floor public bathroom will increase the comfort of patrons who have trouble with stairs.
Creative signage will allow better promotion of programs and events as well as emphasize the organization’s location.
Internal changes will improve store layout and accessibility, traffic flow, and more actively invite reading and browsing. These improvements will increase the Center’s overall visibility and accessibility as a local and national destination.
3) Establishing a Woodland Pattern Operating Reserve
Establishing a financial reserve is a crucial component of the Strategic Plan. Building the Center’s capital reserves is a sound investment that will reduce day-to-day cash flow stresses, which can distract from long-term planning. It will bolster operational sustainability for years to come. As ongoing support for its mission and programs, the Center should hold cash reserves to cover needed information technology updates, building maintenance, and necessary program equipment.
The reserve will also act as a buffer across reimbursements from various project grants. Establishing a Woodland Pattern Operating Reserve will meet these needs, enabling the Center to continue to serve the community both now and for future generations.
4) An Investment in the Future:
Woodland Pattern’s path forward is clear. The Capital Campaign charts a future that will ensure the Center will continue to bring the best of contemporary art, literature, and performance to people of all ages, genders, races, and backgrounds.
Estimated costs for this Campaign total $750,000. Woodland Pattern has launched a capital campaign, its first, to raise these funds. Please join this effort: an investment in Woodland Pattern’s future is not only an investment in the continued vitality of the arts within Milwaukee, but a commitment to our community as a whole.
Incoming Executive Directors
We would like to take this opportunity to introduce to you the new Executive Directors of Woodland Pattern,
Jenny Gropp and Laura Solomon! Both Jenny and Laura come to Woodland Pattern from the Georgia Review in Athens, Georgia. They both have backgrounds in education, publishing, and arts administration, and as poets and enthusiasts for small press literature. We are very excited to bring their knowledge and passion to Milwaukee and Woodland Pattern. Please join us in welcoming Jenny and Laura, officially starting in March!
Press release HERE
Laura Solomon (left) and Jenny Gropp (Photo credit: Scott LaClaire )
A Brief Introduction:
Laura first fell for Woodland Pattern when she visited in 2011 to give a reading. The next day, she spent hours in the bookstore trying to whittle down what to purchase before finally deciding on the first issue of a slim, stapled journal called Paper Nautilus from the UK that features work by three poets, one of them Alice Notley.
Jenny learned about Woodland Pattern years ago when she met now-former Woodland Pattern employee Robert Baumann through good friends from graduate school. She remembers looking up the center and thinking it was incredibly cool, and has followed its activities from afar ever since.
A few goals Laura and Jenny have as they step into the position are:
● To continue developing the relationships already established by Anne, Karl, WP’s board, and current staff while also seeking new opportunities for local, regional, and national partnerships as well as community participation.
● To work toward chronicling WP’s rich, vibrant history under Anne Kingsbury’s directorship and Karl Gartung’s co-foundership by means of a definitive critical text on the center’s first four decades.
● To celebrate WP’s upcoming 40th anniversary in 2020 as a homecoming for all those who’ve passed through the center’s doors—whether as staff, volunteers, board members, or as visiting writers and artists.
Since 2012, Jenny has served as managing editor of the Georgia Review, a literary quarterly based at the University of Georgia in Athens. There, she has overseen production, edited manuscripts, directed art selection, and help shaped the journal’s mission and programming. She’s also worked for several years as a freelance editor.
In her twenties, Jenny studied literature and creative writing at the University of Montana in Missoula and spent several formative years abroad—researching musicology in West Africa and teaching English as a foreign language in Japan—before going on to pursue an MFA in creative writing at the University of Alabama in Tuscaloosa. While teaching and writing there, she also edited Black Warrior Review and directed the Creative Writing Club for high school students. Additionally, she has experience as a senior administrator at the Johns Hopkins Center for Talented Youth.
Jenny’s poetry and prose can be found in Colorado Review, Typo, Seneca Review, Best New Poets, Seattle Review, Denver Quarterly, UNSAID, DIAGRAM, and Columbia: A Journal of Literature & Art, among others. Her first book, The Hominine Egg, a mixed-form collection, was published by Kore Press in 2017, and she has recently begun work on a new manuscript, the first piece of which is forthcoming in Fence.
In addition to her passion for the literary arts, Jenny loves DJing, and has performed occasional live sets and hosted specialty radio shows featuring sound art, electronic music, and spoken word on radio stations in Colorado, Montana, and Alabama. An avid music collector, she enjoys playing drums, and is looking forward to taking in the music scene in the Midwest.
Laura holds degrees from the University of Georgia and the University of Massachusetts–Amherst, where she studied poetry under Peter Gizzi, James Tate, and Dara Wier. After receiving her MFA in 2005, she spent several years abroad in Italy and France as a teacher and translator, as well as time in Philadelphia as an adult literacy tutor and adjunct professor.
In 2011, she returned to Athens, Georgia, to teach for UGA before eventually taking on the role of public outreach and digital projects manager at the Georgia Review. Over the years, she’s worked with a number of other literary journals and small presses, including Verse Press (now Wave Books), which she helped launch in 2000, and castagraf, an early online journal she founded in 2002.
Laura is the author of three books of poetry, most recently The Hermit from Ugly Duckling Presse, and two works of translation. A volume of her selected poems was published in Slovene in 2010, the same year she was invited to read at Slovenia’s international literary festival Days of Poetry and Wine. Laura is currently at work on new poems, a translation of Ted Berrigan’s Sonnets into Italian and Natalia Ginzburg’s novella Famiglia from Italian to English. New poetry is forthcoming from the Brooklyn Rail.
Beyond these pursuits, Laura has written and performed music with the band pacificUV, touring with them in the US, China, and southeast Asia in 2014. A longtime film buff and lover of the visual arts, she’s especially excited about Woodland Pattern’s experimental film series and ongoing art exhibitions.