When Jania Daniels of ABC with D called me in December, I had no idea that just 4 months later my long-held dream would be coming to fruition. It is often said that success can materialize when preparation meets opportunity but sometimes, even oftentimes, the dream seems too big, too far away, too impossible.
Then came the biggest hurdle: access to funding for the dream. I could write a book about the height of such hurdles but won't bore you with the details. Let's just say: barriers often force many to abandon their dreams
In December 2020, I selected my "anchor" phrase for the year. I make this declaration annually since 2017:
My favorite number is 4: quadrants, seasons. April (the 4th month) was 60 days away so I started looking into what holidays fall in April, what special days or little-known holidays happened in April. I found a few cool little-known holidays: Ex-Spouse Day (didn't need that energy around this project), National Peanut Butter and Jelly Day (yum!), ... then I found April 14th... Reach as High as You Can Day!
When I share with people how I gave myself the monicker, Keisha "I Make Everything Beautiful" Whatley, I am careful to always encourage others to call themselves something that calls them into being; a name that pulls them upward; calls them to grow and expand.
The date of our closing on 6228 Germantown Avenue was selected to do just that! Reach as High as You Can Day is a testament to our stepping out on faith, putting in the work, praying, crying, wishing, hoping. It will absolutely be a day of expanding horizons, reaching higher than what I thought was possible, and, hopefully, empowerment for others.
The Project Would Love Your Support!
I have shared before that the Swain family purchased the building in 1979, just 3 months after I was born! The space, especially the first floor commercial space, is like a time-capsule. Forty two years of printing, family photos, relics, and supplies are stored in pristine condition! Old-school printing machines, paper supplies, posters, newspapers, and tools line the space, and fill the beautiful wooden built-in drawers.
The clean out will take a Herculean effort but the biggest concern is the exterior work that is required to "sure up" the building against the elements. The roof (and there are 3 of them!) needs repair and maintenance as well as the catwalk, soffits and downspouts and the exterior stucco and masonry needs a lot of TLC. That TLC translates to dollars!
So, we have launched a GOFUNDME campaign to support this massive endeavor to bring this Victorian beauty back to life. The Art Bar Cafe, artist studio rentals, event space and commercial office space will all work in service to the community. Events hosted there will enrich the residents and the arts will be celebrated and supported.
Learn more about the project, updates and how you can support this community endeavor: https://charity.gofundme.com/theartbar
BEHIND THE BRUSH