Melrose Place, Gov. Napolitano, and Chocolate Chips
April 10, 2008 1:11 AM   Subscribe

Melrose Place, Governor Napolitano, and Freshly Baked Chocolate Chips: social entrepreneurship to combat meth and sell art. Is Belleza Gallery, wholly owned nonprofit gallery of Renaissance House, the coolest little pocket of altrusim-meets-art that almost no one has ever heard of?

  Popping through Bisbee, (a funky former copper mining town near the US-Mexico
border in AZ), you’re sure to find former miners sipping coffee with artists and great spots to stop for a bite, but for those looking for self-sufficiency models to replicate– or to buy some killer art – do not miss Lou Anne.  A goddess with a shock of silver hair and a plate of warm cookies, she talked to me about Rose Johnson and Will Spencer III in the same breath as recidivism rates and women building and selling technicolor Adirondack furniture and working away in a newly dedicated computer facility funded in part by the Women’s Foundation of Southern Arizona.  Perhaps some people have heard of Renaissance House after all, as they were finalists in the Yale School of Management
Goldman Sachs Foundation Partnership on Nonprofit Ventures business plan competition.  With art online and in the gallery, they’re supporting women and children breaking cycles of abuse – substance abuse, sexual assault, domestic violence – and empowering them to help them reclaim their independent lives in a transitional facility.  Together they do yoga, work in the house’s garden, work toward GEDs.  One graduate, a physics and astronomy double major, is even a Jack Kent Cooke Scholar at Northern Arizona University, en route to the stars, it seems.  Plus there are the occasional celeb visitors: The Governor’s stopped in, and they have pictures of her in one of the teak chairs made by the women, and Courtney Thorne Smith from Melrose and According to Jim have been in.  Apparently one of her friends is an artist selling there.  Personally, I love the Tad Cheyenne Miller pieces best of all.  Totally old-school Americana! 
posted by yellowcandy (3 comments total) 3 users marked this as a favorite
Hah, what a timely post, I'll be visiting Bisbee for the second time over Memorial Day. It's a little strange coming across such a funky, artistic town in the middle of nowhere but their hospitality is top notch. We'll have to stop in, this place looks great!
posted by chicken nuglet at 2:19 AM on April 10, 2008 [1 favorite]

Melrose Place, Governor Napolitano, and Freshly Baked Chocolate Chips

The way this phrase is set up, I really thought this was going to be a Great Carnac punchline (imagine Ed McMahon saying it)
posted by Slack-a-gogo at 5:16 AM on April 10, 2008

Been reading about meth problems how difficult it is for even some of the best programs to maintain funding now that the economy's on the shreds. What a cool model for women and their kiddies, and a gorgeous website! To buy a Will Spencer saguaro online or my new lawn furniture made by Renaissance women - and know I'm doing some good while sipping a mojito? Love it. I think I've just found the birthday gift I was search for...
posted by zippytheintern at 7:20 AM on April 10, 2008

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