Meet Our Clients: Matthew Braun of Fleisher Art Memorial

April 25th, 2012  —  Design ServicesPlacemaking

Complex inside and out: Matt Braun in the exhibition space at the heart of a campus that includes several rowhomes, a parking lot, a 19th century church sanctuary, a former funeral home, and a even an old orphanage.

How do you take an eclectic collection of old, historic buildings and adapt them to meet the needs of emerging artists in the 21st century?  That’s a question Matt Braun, executive director of the Fleisher Art Memorial, asks every day.

We caught up with Matt Braun last month to talk about the Collaborative’s latest pro bono design project with Fleisher—a Request for Proposals for a master plan. View our video interview below the jump.

The mission of the Fleisher Art Memorial is to make art accessible to everyone, regardless of economic means, background, or artistic experience. To do that, Fleisher offers free and affordable art classes to children, teens, and adults.

Like many of the artists it serves, Fleisher Art Memorial is a study in resourcefulness. The community-based art center collaborated on a conceptual design for a children’s art garden with the Collaborative and made it happen with a $25,000 gift from a board member and lots of sweat equity. Then Fleisher participated in our design process to support community-led efforts to improve adjacent Palumbo Park.

The Collaborative worked with Fleisher’s leadership to create an RFP with clear, well-organized overview of the facility and the organization’s strategic goals, which set the stage for solid proposals and community engagement. We’re looking forward to the master plan, which was ultimately awarded to Atkin Olshin Schade Architects.

The master plan will provide Fleisher with a blueprint to meld its eclectic collection of buildings—several rowhomes, a  church sanctuary, a former funeral home, and an old orphanage— into a sustainable campus that’s welcoming, expands the arts curriculum, and “drives the way we want to be as a community arts organization in the 21st century.”