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Gallery Interview – Launch Pad Cooperative

Launch Pad Cooperative is a newly formed, artist run gallery trying to create a more vibrant art community in Toledo, Ohio. I interviewed Crystal Phelps, one of the founding members to learn more about their new art space.

Launch Pad Cooperative in Toledo, OHLaunch Pad Cooperative Gallery in Toledo, Ohio

How did Launch Pad Cooperative start?

In February of 2012, Timothy Gaewsky called a meeting in Toledo for interested parties to exchange ideas and suggestions on starting a cooperative art gallery. He had lived in the area for a few years and was ready to start a gallery. Through a network of local creatives I was directed to the meeting and told Tim of my experiences as both a member and President of Eye Lounge Contemporary Art in Phoenix. We recognized the need for a contemporary art space in Toledo that was going to bring new types of work to the area and allow local artists to build a stronger community.

 Tim GaewskyTim Gaewsky

What is the mission of Launch Pad Cooperative?

Launch Pad Cooperative is an artist-run gallery that was established in 2012, by Timothy Gaewsky, with the intent to facilitate a network for emerging visual artists who wish to enrich the community of Toledo and beyond. Launch Pad’s mission is to provide support and encouragement for artists and writers, cultivate ideas and creativity, foster cross-discipline collaborations, and actively pursue broader exposure of member’s work. Launch Pad also seeks to encourage experimentation and innovation through the presentation of fresh, provocative new works by cooperative members. Through exhibitions, lectures and artist talks, poetry readings, performances, film and video series, and community outreach, the gallery is dedicated to the cultural enrichment of Greater Toledo.

Crystal Gale PhelpsCrystal Gale Phelps

Did you research other artist co-ops before deciding the Launch Pad Cooperative setup?

Some of the artist cooperatives that we looked at before starting our space include Eye Lounge Contemporary Art in Phoenix, AZ, Punch Gallery in Seattle, Washington, and Plug Projects in Kansas City. I had first hand experience with Eye Lounge and was aware of the great potential, as well as challenges, there was with an artist run gallery.

 Ian WelchIan Welch

What is the art scene like in Toledo, Ohio?

Toledo is one of those rust belt cities that is slowly but surely growing into a place for creatives to experiment with new types of work without breaking the bank. For the past few years it has been a lot of the same people doing the same types of art in the same two or three galleries in the area. In the last year there has been an influx of people coming from out of town who have been networking together to create new and sustainable opportunities. Public art projects are starting to develop as well as new galleries opening up. Toledo is kind of like a little brother or sister to Detroit but we are working to make our creative community a destination all in itself.

Julia LaBayJulia LaBay

You have a project on Kickstarter, tell us more about it?

As with any not for profit gallery or business, we are struggling to make ends meet to keep our space sustainable. All of our current funding is coming from member dues and we don’t allow private donors in order to maintain artistic freedom of the space. Members paid out of pocket for gallery renovations that took a few months to complete and allowed us to open our doors in June of 2012- just 4 months after our initial meeting! Now that the hard part is over we are focused on sustainability of the space. We have already started a series of artist talks, lectures, a reading series, and are planning a fundraising exhibition in December. In order for us to facilitate and maintain these types of programs we need funding. The kickstarter project will allow us to keep our doors open, increase programming, and develop awesome rewards for our backers that will also benefit the cooperative.

Allison Parsons Allison Parsons

Kimberly Adams

For more information on Launch Pad Cooperative visit:

Launch Pad Cooperative on Facebook
Launch Pad Cooperative on Kickstarter

  1. Lisa Marie Sipe (Reply) on Wednesday 17, 2012

    Congratulations to Launch Pad Cooperative for their fully funded Kickstarter project. I can’t wait to see where this takes them…