By Molly Snyder Senior Writer Published Nov 23, 2008 at 4:16 PM

Since graduating from MIAD in 2004, Kari Couture and friend Kim Weiss dreamed of opening a community printmaking studio in Milwaukee.

Recently, this dream became reality when the women -- along with a few business partners -- closed on a building, 1422 N. 4th St., with plans to house a printmaking studio called RedLine Milwaukee.

RedLine Milwaukee is an affiliate of a similar organization called RedLine Denver. Programs include an artist residency program, classes, exhibition space and an in-house printmaking studio.

The artist residency program allows local, national and international artists to apply for a 2-3 year stay at RedLine. If chosen for the program, artists receive very affordable studio space, a mentor and access to in-house equipment and facilities.

"In addition, artists will develop connections to other local, national and international artists, institutions and organizations through a community service component," says Couture.

Educational programs will be a strong emphasis at RedLine and will include programs for adults and teens, as well as lectures, workshops and classes that will be open to the local community.

Originally, RedLine Milwaukee was the brainchild of local artists Steve Vande Zande and Steve and Lori Bauman. When they heard Couture and Weiss had a similar mission, they invited the women to join forces.

"When they invited us to join their efforts and open the printmaking studio in RedLine, Kim and I were honored and accepted right away," says Couture.

The group plans to  have an open house in January, then spend the next eight months or so remodeling the interior. They hope to officially open RedLine Milwaukee in late summer or early fall, 2009.

Prior to joining the RedLine Milwaukee effort, Couture and Weiss researched community printmaking studios across the country, took business courses, wrote a business plan and applied for non-profit status. The women were driven by their own passion for printmaking, along with the belief that printmaking space is needed in Milwaukee.

"Printmaking equipment and facilities are expensive and require a lot of space and maintenance, so most artists can't afford their own studio," says Couture. "We recognized that many printmakers were turning to other media or leaving Milwaukee for lack of communal printmaking facilities in the area."

RedLine Milwaukee will be very similar to Redline Denver, and the two sites will collaborate information and share resources as much as possible. The focus of Redline Milwaukee, however, is more on education and community involvement.

"Our RedLine Milwaukee team has more experience in art education so we can help Denver grow it's education and community outreach components and they can help us by connecting us with the curators, artists and institutions with which they partner," says Couture.

All of the people involved with RedLine Milwaukee already work in art and / or education. Couture is the program coordinator for Artists Working in Education (AWE), a non-profit program that places local artists in public schools to work with students.

Vande Zande is an MPS art teacher, educational program coordinator at the Milwaukee Art Museum and instructor at Marquette University. Weiss is a display artist for Anthropologie, Lori Bauman is an art teacher and Julie Anderson, who will serve as RedLine's program manager, is a freelance photographer.

"RedLine is about connecting artists with their future. It sets up the proposition that the status quo is more dangerous than delving into the unknown," says Couture. "To cross the red line is to lose the inhibitions that may hold an artist back."

Molly Snyder started writing and publishing her work at the age 10, when her community newspaper printed her poem, "The Unicorn.” Since then, she's expanded beyond the subject of mythical creatures and written in many different mediums but, nearest and dearest to her heart, thousands of articles for OnMilwaukee.

Molly is a regular contributor to FOX6 News and numerous radio stations as well as the co-host of "Dandelions: A Podcast For Women.” She's received five Milwaukee Press Club Awards, served as the Pfister Narrator and is the Wisconsin State Fair’s Celebrity Cream Puff Eating Champion of 2019.