Fresh Arts Coalition+Spacetaker Merger


What’s better than two Houston arts service organizations? Well, actually, one really awesome arts service organization. Spacetaker and Fresh Arts Coalition are merging! We know you might have some questions about how the merger will affect you so we've answered some of these questions below. As we combine forces over the next few months, regular updates about the merger will be posted on Facebook, Twitter and our blog. You can also sign up to receive our newly merged newsletter here.




Why are Fresh Arts Coalition and Spacetaker merging?


The “new” Fresh Arts will be a more effective and responsive organization, with robust service and program offerings for artists and arts organizations. For the foreseeable future, the core programs and services that Spacetaker fans and members have come to rely upon won’t change, and the organization will continue to provide marketing services to current Fresh Arts Coalition members.


When we looked back at the past several years, we realized how much we had in common: While we have operated independently, Fresh Arts Coalition and Spacetaker have both nurtured emerging artists and small to mid-sized arts organizations. Our missions—and our visions for the future—really are complementary; together, our diverse assets, enthusiastic supporters and broad array of programs for the arts and artists benefit the community tremendously.


  • Spacetaker is a professional organization and artist resource center whose mission is to provide artists and non-profits access to economic development, continuing education, and networking opportunities to support their professional growth.


  • Fresh Arts Coalition is a collaborative of small and mid-sized Houston arts organizations that markets the importance of the arts to the public and builds audience participation through increased visibility, collaborative efforts and advocacy.


Need we say more?  We will anyway:


•    Fresh Arts Coalition and Spacetaker have similar audience development objectives.

•    Both organizations seek to offer comprehensive professional development and education opportunities to anyone in the arts field.

•    The merged organization will facilitate more productive connections and networking opportunities between artists and arts organizations.

•    Member institutions can maintain one membership in a stronger organization, instead of two, with different benefits.

•    Fresh Arts’ expertise in advertising (paid media) and Spacetaker’s expertise in public relations (earned media) complement one another well.

•    The unique services of each organization are valuable and will be retained, but the overlapping functions will be combined and streamlined.

•    Combined calendars will create better “one stop shopping” for audiences and will make it easier for arts organizations to maintain updated content at one site, instead of two.

•    Education programs can be combined and enhanced.

•    Spacetaker’s strength with individual artists dovetails nicely with Fresh Arts’ network of arts organizations.



Why did you choose the name Fresh Arts?


It wasn’t an easy decision, that’s for sure.  But, after hours of debate, deliberation and feedback from a broad array of stakeholders, we opted for the name Fresh Arts because we believe it’s representative of our missions and joint vision for the future.



Why now?


Over the years, various community members have said that Fresh Arts Coalition and Spacetaker are a perfect match, and we’ve agreed. We’ve been cheerleaders for each other and shared a passion for the Houston arts community. It became clearer each year that we could and should combine our programs and services to better serve our members and donors.



Who will be leading the new Fresh Arts?


Spacetaker’s current Executive Director, Jenni Rebecca Stephenson, will lead Fresh Arts, with the support of Program and Marketing Director K.C. Scharnberg. In the coming months, we will also be seeking additional professional support to provide members with the highest level of continuing education, networking, marketing, audience development and market development.


The newly established Fresh Arts Board of Directors is listed here.



Where will the Fresh Arts headquarters be located?


Fresh Arts is proud to call Winter Street Studios our home and yours. You can find us at 2101 Winter Street, #B11, Houston, Texas 77007 – the same location as the former Spacetaker’s offices and gallery. It’s perfect, right?



What’s next?


We’ll be working hard over the next few months to develop our business strategy and to improve our service offerings for artists and arts organizations. We can assure you that we’ll be in touch frequently to let you know what’s going on and how any changes may affect our members and the general arts community. Your input is important to us, and periodically, we’ll be reaching out to get your feedback.



As a member, how does this merger benefit me?


A merged Fresh Arts means that we will be able to provide you with a more effective arts service organization that shares your passion for the arts in Houston. At this time, the core programs and services that Spacetaker members have come to rely upon will be retained, and the organization will continue to provide marketing services to Fresh Arts Coalition members on an ongoing basis.


Over the coming months, we will be looking at national arts service organization models to help shape our next steps as a merged and larger arts services organization. Know that our goal is to be better together at what each organization did previously on its own, so your membership value should improve, regardless of whether you came to us as a Spacetaker or Fresh Arts Coalition member, patron or volunteer.



I am not a member of Spacetaker, but I am an artist who has utilized Spacetaker’s programs and services. How does this merger affect me?


We don’t anticipate any significant changes to the free programs and services that Spacetaker has offered to individual artists and arts organizations. Individuals who are not members of Spacetaker will still be able to utilize the free web services (e.g. creating artist profile, creating one online art portfolio, adding events to calendar, posting press releases to site, accessing the artist opportunities web page, etc.) and participate in our public programming, like Cultured Cocktails, Exhibitions, Artist Speakeasy events, and Artist Workshops.



Where should I post my upcoming events?


For now, keep doing what you’ve been doing.

The Spacetaker website and calendar will stay the same, and everyone can continue to add events to this calendar as usual.

Fresh Arts Coalition members should create a new, or update their current profile on Spacetaker and begin posting events here.

The only change we foresee in the immediate future is the combining of the Spacetaker and Fresh Arts Coalition weekly e-newsletters and e-newsletter subscribers. Fresh Arts Coalition member events and Spacetaker member events (and select non-member events) will both appear in this combined weekly event e-newsletter,

As changes take place for both websites, we will make sure these changes are made clear to all of our website users.



I am a Fresh Arts Coalition member. Will the new organization continue to place my ads?


For the next couple of months, it’s business as usual. The existing Fresh Arts Coalition advertising contracts must be fulfilled through the end of May, 2012 so the Coalition members can count on their regular advertising schedule to finish out their artistic seasons. During the summer months, we will utilize this traditional break in advertising to re-evaluate the effectiveness of the historic advertising campaigns and be ready to launch a more strategic marketing plan before the start of the fall artistic season. We’ll be sure to keep you in the loop as processes evolve.



If I am a Fresh Arts Coalition member, what happens to my status?


The merger provides the perfect opportunity to evaluate how the coalition functions, in order to best serve the marketing goals of its members. That said, the historical services afforded members will continue—it will be business as usual, for at least the fulfillment of Fresh Arts Coalitions’ membership cycle on June 30, 2012. Any changes or alterations to membership will involve the careful consideration of membership needs and feedback.



What happens if my organization is a member of both Fresh Arts Coalition and Spacetaker?


Organizations that are members of both Fresh Arts Coalition and Spacetaker will receive the same historical services afforded by each entity. Spacetaker membership will continue through the fulfillment of the year from payment. If an organization’s Spacetaker membership expires before the fulfillment of Fresh Arts Coalitions’ membership cycle, it will not be necessary to renew the separate Spacetaker membership. We aim to roll out new membership models by late summer/early fall.



I have more questions for you. Who do I talk to?


If you have a question about your membership, sponsorship or key artist services, please contact Jenni Rebecca Stephenson at


If you have questions about programming or marketing, please contact K.C. Scharnberg at


Also, feel free to call us at 713.868.1839.