About The A-TEAM Artists of Trenton
The A-TEAM: Past Present and Future
In 2001, five self-taught visual artists who used the services of the Trenton Area Soup Kitchen (TASK) and had participated for several years in the Extra Helpings arts program at TASK, met with Extra Helpings volunteer Susan Darley to discuss the possibility of forming an artist cooperative. The nascent idea was to offer the clients, who possessed artistic interests and talents but did not have the personal resources to pursue their creative activities, a collegial environment in which they could hone their creative abilities and ultimately sell their artwork and share the benefits of their efforts. Because from the outset, the artists made all the decisions about how the A-TEAM was run and what projects it undertook, membership in the group also provided an opportunity for the artists to learn entrepreneurial skills.
The number of artists grew quickly, and the walls of the soup kitchen became a year-round gallery for the display of their work. Over the years, the “A-TEAM Artists of Trenton" have participated in hundreds of shows at such diverse venues as museums (e.g.s, The New Jersey State Museum and The Trenton City Museum at Ellarslie), galleries (e.g.s, Artworks, the Arts Council of Princeton, the Gourgaud Gallery in Cranbury, the galleries at Prallsville Mills in Stockton and the Outsider Gallery in Frenchtown), corporate offices (e.g.s, The Pennington-Ewing Athletic Center, Jingoli Properties), governmental departments (e.g.s, NJ Department of Environmental Protection, NJ Office of Homeland Security and Preparedness, The Municipal Court of Trenton); non-profit organizations (e.g.s, The Trenton Health Team, The Redding Senior Center, Henry J. Austin Health Center, The Rescue Mission) and religious institutions (e.g.s, Trinity Church of Princeton, Dorothea Dix Unitarian Universalist Congregation of Bordentown, The Princeton Jewish Center).
The A-TEAM artists also reached out to the Trenton community by lending their work to local businesses and non-profit groups and leading monthly art workshops for residents of the Rescue Mission of Trenton and consumers at The ARC/Mercer, an organization that provides services for physically and cognitively disabled adults. In addition, the artists have hosted clients from the Trenton Psychiatric Hospital’s art therapy program at their regular TASK studio hours.
In 2010, the A-TEAM artists began seeking tax-exempt IRS status for their unique collaborative efforts and activities, and in July 2014, 501©(3) nonprofit status was finally granted, thus allowing A-TEAM supporters to make tax-deductible contributions to the artists and allowing the artists to submit proposals to agencies that fund arts groups.
About The Trenton Community A-TEAM
The newly formed 501(c)(3) organization, called the “Trenton Community A-TEAM" (TCAT), has recently hired Marcus Maximus Mera as Executive Director and with his leadership, is planning to expand the activities and membership of the group in a variety of new directions, including hosting a minimum of 10 art-related community events each year. The other new development is that the artists are currently moving into additional space a few blocks from TASK at 51 North Stockton Street, informally known within TCAT as "Studio 51." Although they will continue to meet at TASK on Tuesdays and display their work in the vast TASK gallery, the artists will now also be able to work and exhibit their artwork at North Stockton Street in studio space that will be available to them throughout each week. Several of the artists are already planning to lead arts and craft classes for their neighbors in and around Stockton Street.
All A-TEAM artwork will be for sale year round at "Studio 51" as it is also at the TASK gallery. Seventy percent of each purchase price will go to the individual artist, while the remaining thirty percent will go to TCAT to cover the cost of art supplies, space rental and maintenance, and eventually a small staff to oversee all activities and projects.
With the wise stewardship of the TCAT Board of Trustees and major input from an Advisory Council of artists, as well as the leadership of ED Marcus Maximus Mera, the TCAT artists are looking forward to an exciting future of new growth and creativity both for themselves and also equally for their Trenton community.
The Mission of the Trenton Community A-TEAM
The Trenton Community A-TEAM supports, develops, and promotes self-taught, local artists because art can be transformative by reframing the artist's connectedness to self and others and by enhancing community pride.
For more information about the Trenton Community A-TEAM, please email to: Marcusmera@me.com