When planning and creating our co-op, we were faced with a multitude of questions that needed answers. Here ya go.
Below you will find answers to the questions we faced, along with some of the most frequently asked questions potential applicants and new members have.
What does it means to be a “Member” of a Co-op?
A cooperative is a voluntary association of persons (Members) united to meet their common economic, social and cultural needs through jointly owned and democratically controlled enterprises. As a co-op, there is a general sense of shared responsibility and the real fact of individual ownership. Each member of the co-op has a say in how things function, and are part owners, for the duration of their membership. A co-op presents to its members the opportunity to be a part of something unique, exciting and ever-changing. Those are some of the same qualities that art embraces.
What kind of a Co-op is ASPCO?
ASPCO is a Co-op created to provide members in the screen printing community an affordable way to create their artwork while maintaining control over the process, as well as a place to collaborate with others.
A Board of Directors manages the Co-op. Co-ops are democratically controlled organizations, therefore the Board is elected by the Members on a one member, one vote basis. The Co-op receives capital from members who pay membership fees, and uses this capital to purchase the equipment for Member use. In addition to the initial annual membership dues, Members pay a fee for either quarterly or annual use of the equipment. This payment is called “usage fees.” These ongoing usage fees support the Co-op and help it stay in existence by providing the capital for ongoing payments such as rent, utilities and supplies.
The cost of membership as well as the usage fees are set by the Board of Directors based on the annual budget and are subject to change. Any changes will not be made to adversely affect the rights of members who have already paid, and will only be prospective in nature.
To become a member of ASPCO, applicants must have prior screen printing experience. If an applicant has no prior experience, ASPCO offers screen printing classes for those members to gain experience and familiarity with our studio and the screen printing process prior to joining.
What does ASPCO provide to its members and what are its members responsible for?
ASPCO provides certain chemicals for its members to use in the screen printing process. This may include:
- Screen reclaiming chemicals
- Spray Tack for apparel printing
ASPCO members are responsible for purchasing their own inks, screens and printing substrates. As a convenience, ASPCO keeps on hand 13″ x 19″ and 8.5″ x 11″ transparencies for purchase by members.
Does ASPCO print projects for organizations, individuals and the public at-large?
ASPCO as an entity does not print projects for the public at-large.
What kind of memberships does ASPCO offer?
ASPCO offers three tiers of membership: Artist Members, Associate Members, and Project Members. Artist Members make up the highest tier, with the most rights and responsibilities, and typically use the Co-op facilities the most. Associate Members have fewer responsibilities and use the facilities less. Project Members access the facilities on a periodic basis.
How do I apply for membership?
If you are interested in becoming a Member of the ASPCO, please review the ASPCO Bylaws, the ASPCO Membership Agreement and Facility Policies. Then decide which level of Membership you are interested in and and take the first step to apply. Membership applications are reviewed once a month by the ASPCO board.
I have 2,000 shirts I want to print. Is that possible as a co-op member?
If you are printing high volume, large print production orders, ASPCO is probably not the best fit for your needs. Most of our members print relatively low volume apparel projects (12-100 pieces at a time) and paper printed goods that can be stretched over a couple of print sessions. Many of our members do have flourishing businesses that our co-op helps facilitate, although our co-op isn’t set up to allow for a member to print 8 hours a day, 3-4 days a week.
Do all applicants get accepted?
We accept a wide range of screen printers at different ability levels. However, we reserve the right to choose to not accept someone if they are not the right fit or do not have enough printing experience. If we feel an applicant needs more experience, we recommend they take additional classes before joining as a member.
We cap our membership so all members have ample access to the shop. If we are at capacity, applicants still have the opportunity to go through the application process and will be placed on a wait list until a spot opens up.
I have printed before, and can pay today to start. Can I start tomorrow?
Sorry, no. All applicants are required to follow a strict application process.