KALICO Entering its Final Week Open at Downtown Location

The arts nonprofit announced earlier this month that a loss of grant funding had forced it to give up its current building and lay off staff

By Mike Kordenbrock
Clay pieces for KALICO’s columnar sculpture project at KALICO Art Center in Kalispell on March 19, 2022. Hunter D’Antuono | Flathead Beacon

The local arts nonprofit KALICO Art Center is entering its final week in which it will remain open at its downtown Kalispell location at 149 Main St.

Earlier this month KALICO announced that it had not received several grants it had been counting on, and that financial losses had forced the nonprofit to give up its current building and lay off staff.

Staff members were given the option to move into volunteer and contracted work, according to KALICO. The July 12 press release had said that staff would be laid off the following week.

A launch party for KALICO took place in March of 2019, and the nonprofit had been in discussions in March 2020 about its grand opening when word began to spread that Montana would be going into a lockdown intended to slow the spread of COVID-19. In attempting to adjust to the pandemic, KALICO had organized remote events, and handed out art packets and pottery kits to-go, before a phased downtown opening beginning in the summer of 2020.

“Opening our doors when we did, unfortunately just did not give us the foundation we needed to establish ourselves well in the downtown area,” KALICO said in a press release about the changes.

The press release also stated that KALICO upon vacating the building will “exist without walls while we reevaluate and reimagine a space that would better suit us.”

Alisha Shilling, the nonprofit’s board chair and founder, said in an accompanying statement that she hopes “the financial breathing room this will create will offer new insights into our next steps.”

In the same statement, Shilling asked that anyone who has “a space that is begging to be filled with creativity, connection, and community” to contact KALICO.

In a press release announcing the layoffs and move, KALICO said it would continue summer camps, partnerships and other programming it has already committed to.

The downtown location will be open through the end of July for people to pick up projects, shop, view the current exhibition, or paint pottery.

KALICO was planning on hosting its final open mic night at the downtown location Monday night, and is looking for a new space to host the event, according to a social media post from the art center.