Wickerson Studios is a business incubator for the arts that facilitates materials and processes for artists wanting to commercialize their work.


Pitch: Wickerson Studios, 2019
Intro –

Hello, my name is Michael Wickerson, arts educator and designer at the Kansas City Art Institute, and I am the co-founder and director of Wickerson Studios with my wife, Beth Allison Wickerson, developer at Signal Theory. We have been hosting an alternative forum for the arts out in Kansas City, Kansas for the past ten years.

Following a 4 years stint in the city running the Beth Allison Gallery in the crossroads, we decided to move our artistic interests to a 14 acre woodland and rolling hill property in the 435 loop; close enough to the city but recluse enough to make some “noise”.

In the wake of entering another decade of facilitating a wide range of talented national and international artists, we have decided to focus on the growing need of artists to incorporated digital technologies into their creative efforts.

Wickerson Studios is now entering a new decade of facilitating art fabrication, performance and design with a keen eye for introducing digital technologies into traditional methods and processes.

Our venture title: Wickerson Studios is a business incubator for the arts that facilitates materials and processes for artists wanting to commercialize their work.

Problem –

After two decades of co-directing a gallery, running a metal casting foundry, and operating and firing ceramic kilns for individuals and groups, we have decided that we would like to find a way to incorporate more digital modeling technologies into the hands and minds of the artists we have facilitated.
Although we have assisted several digital photographers, videographers, retail businesses and independent artists in the past, we have only begun to tap into the interests of architects, engineers, and programmers.

We have hosted international conference workshops, facilitated full-scale musical and theatrical performances, worked internationally with a variety of creative individuals, and even made the cover to KC Studio magazine in 2014 (Fire Over Kansas), however we are interested in moving beyond the analogue into the digital.

By incorporating metal casting, kiln firings, and architectural fabrication in both timber and adobe construction into the contemporary digital realms of virtual, augmented, and mixed reality, we will be able to extend and develop our business through offering new digital services including parametric and computational modeling processes.

We are determined to continue to mentor undergraduate art students, educate art alumni, organize public workshops, and even grant certificates for professional artists with a new focus on computer skills.

The past services we have provided have fulfilled the need for an alternative school of the arts that have been open to a wide range of disciplines from the traditional plastics arts to the more temporary theatrical and performative ones.

We now feel that the ability of reaching into the digital realm on the virtual, augmented and mixed reality levels appeals to the next generation of visual artists, designers, architects, program developers and engineers wishing to cooperate and collaborate with sculptors and performance artists.

Solution –

Our solution involves renovating Wickerson Studios and developing the digital studios to facilitate a computerized maker-space that houses the hardware and software capable running onsite rapid prototyping 3D printers, laser cutters, CNC milling machines and even robotic multi axis arms.

In such a close proximity to the preexisting foundry, kilns and metal shop, creative individuals will be able to conceive, design, and fabricate on a collaborative level with a variety of people skilled in traditional processes along side the people who are capable of coding, programming, and dealing technically and precisely with digital equipment.

Market Opportunity –

In regards to the market opportunity, there are many post graduate professionals in the arts and design fields that lack the resources required to continue their research after completing there studies.

They may very well find themselves in limbo, caught between graduating and finding creative employment or enrolling in graduate studies.
Until recently, we have assisted individuals in their more traditional efforts, however they have been limited and required to find the time and money to sign up for specific workshops and courses in surrounding maker spaces to explore newer technologies.

Differentiation –

Wickerson Studios intends on offering individualized courses and tutorials that mentor and enable individuals to fully explore their particular project interests that may tap into the expertise of professionals skilled in foundry operations, metal working, and construction, along side digital modeling, programming, and scripting.

From bronze casting to algorithmic modeling, Wickerson Studios will be able to work with product designers, architects, engineers, and artist alike.

Why us –

We have spent our lives in the arts and have an enthusiastic passion for all that is creative. I am a skilled foundry-man and programmer and Beth is an professional developer and photographer.

As we raise our three children on the land, we have always prided ourselves on the imaginative world we have been able to bring to our family, our friends, and our extended creative arts community.

We fully intent on growing and developing our own particular interests along side facilitating the imaginative realms of our peers and colleagues in the national and international arts community.

Beth and Michael Wickerson
Co-founders and C-Directors of Wickerson Studios

Contact: mike{at}wickersonstudios.com