Mission and History → Strategic Plan 2016-20

The Steel Yard’s Strategic Plan 2016 - 2020


At the Steel Yard, we believe:

       everyone regardless of their background or previous experience deserves access to the education, skills and equipment needed to directly improve their conditions and community

       anyone can create, and the act of creation introduces unique experiences and deep appreciation for art and craftsmanship

       every member of our community interacts with the Yard in unique ways. They are “Yardies”, stewards and champions of the creative space and spirit

       creative contributions to society have an innate cultural and economic value

       mentorship can provide new generations with opportunities for financial and ideological independence and strong, stable support networks

       there is great value in sharing knowledge openly across disciplines, generations and diverse life experiences

       historic preservation, reclamation, and revitalization ground us, and connect us to the past

       access to industrial space for artists is an important indicator of the economic health of our city

       it is our responsibility to understand the environmental impacts of our work and to make sustainable choices whenever possible


2016 - 2020 Goals 


We believe in a world still made by hand, where individuals, communities, neighbors, businesses, municipalities and institutions come together to experience the creative process in order to enrich our private lives and public spaces.


I. Physical Infrastructure: Create a facility that compliments the activity of the Steel Yard’s site, amenities, utilities, and role in developing the neighborhood.

Key initiatives:

       Update historic studios and all utilities – be open four seasons

       Handicap accessible rest rooms

       Explore new ways of interacting with and advocating for the neighborhood; coffee shop, welcome center, tool shop, retail exhibit, gallery; improved artist residency space etc.

       Outdoor lighting and power improvements


II. Program Expansion / Open Enrollment Courses / Public Projects / Events / Training: Programming all day, every day. Expand current programming such that we have more people, more space, more capacity. Continue adding equipment and services.

Key initiatives:

       Expand Partnerships – teachers, employers, education providers, schools, funders

       Residencies - activate the shop with professional and emerging artists

       Courses – increase scholarships, technical courses, year-round access and offerings

       Projects –  support and engage in more public art projects


III. Communications, Marketing: Take advantage of what we have and use it to its full potential.

Key initiatives:

       Share successes and opportunities with artist participants, community partners, donors, neighbors, alumni and local industrial arts networks

       Improve, create, expand communications platform

       Explore options for new website

       Use social media to promote yardies and other cool things that are relevant to our mission

       Communicate Steel Yard innovation in setting national precedents

       Celebrate strong community event partnerships


IV. Fundraising + Development: foundational financial sustainability, business model validity and stability, understand our revenue drivers and the manner in which we fund everything we do.

Key initiatives:

       Continue to provide excellent opportunities for our donors to directly support our operating and community impacts

       Increase corporate relationships to support all of our programs, promote our business partners in every medium





       Iron casting

       Diversify Public Projects Capabilities– continue to create products that support local artists, fulfill our mission and provide great use and meaning to clients

       Events – expand site rental access to promote community events, create strong partnerships around SY Fundraisers

       Retail Store – merchandise/product – research and develop merchandise that reflects our brand/supports our programs and promotes local craftspeople