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BOTTLE WORKS is coming up on its year anniversary of merging with the Art Works in
Johnstown. Positive momentum continues, and thanks to local and state funders BOTTLE WORKS will be getting some upgrades. The merger of the two art organizations was a monumental move in the nonprofit world and BOTTLE WORKS continues to focus on its long-term sustainability. The Community Foundation of the Alleghenies (CFA) was one of the big supporters of the merger, providing partial funding for one full-time executive director, but more importantly giving $40,000 specifically to make capital improvements for long-term sustainability and increased revenue.

“As the new executive director, CFA’s support is huge. It really allowed me to come in and take a hard look at what was working and what wasn’t working, but also identify our biggest growth opportunities and how to capitalize on those areas,” said Angela Rizzo. Rizzo took the first few months to get her feet wet and see how things worked before any major decisions were made.

“We are finding ourselves out of space; it is a great problem to have. All our studios are currently full at the Art Works Building,” said Rizzo. BOTTLE WORKS will be updating and cleaning up some of the studio spaces on the second floor of the Tulip Building and opening them up as starter studios. Funds from the Community Foundation will allow BOTTLE WORKS to build-out two more studios at the Art Works Building. Community Foundation funding also allows BOTTLE WORKS to make improvements to its kitchen to increase cooking classes and special event use, and to make improvements to the Gallery Shoppe, which features over 40 local artists.

Though some of these updates sound minor, they are game changers for BOTTLE WORKS. “We are getting more and more interest in studios, special event rentals and programming in general. These updates will allow us to continue to grow and become more efficient. I am extremely grateful for their support,” said Rizzo.

Mike Kane, Community Foundation president, said, “A healthy arts community is an asset that people look for when deciding where to live and work. The Community Foundation appreciated the thoughtful plan for growth that the boards of directors of BOTTLE WORKS and ART WORKS developed. We look at this as not just strengthening one organization, but really as community development.”

In addition, the green roof project is finally getting underway. Major funding from the Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) in the amount of $212,500 will help get this project going. This past year the BOTTLE WORKS has also acquired two vacant lots across the street on Third Avenue. The goal is to make the lots multi-functional from parking to outdoor performance/educational space. The BOTTLE WORKS received a $100,000 grant to begin this process through the Commonwealth Financing Authority’s Greenways, Trails, and Recreation Program.

Thanks to these three funders BOTTLE WORKS has a promising road ahead and a lot to look forward to in 2015.

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