We're dedicated to providing a collaborative workspace to members of our community.
Who We Are
Ocelot Print Shop is a community screen printing shop that is dedicated to providing a collaborative work space to members of our community, offering non-traditional education in the form of classes and skill shares, and offering full design and screen print services. We are dedicated to connecting printers in Detroit so together we can achieve greater things than we could separately. Ocelot Print Shop's vision is to be a community cornerstone and hub for arts-based education and access to equipment. We want to change the way our members and community think about shared resources, learning, and what it means to make your own media.
The idea for Ocelot Print Shop (OPS) was born in early 2012. While traveling, two of our founders visited community print shops in other cities and were amazed at what a great resource they were. As artists who worked from home by themselves, they both wanted to be part of a working space that provided a greater amount of feedback, inspiration, and flow of ideas, and loved the idea of working at a community print shop. They were connected through a mutual friend to a lifelong screen printer who had visions of a space that was commercial but also inspiring to work in. He wanted his equipment to be used by more than just himself once his family shop was sold. So we started talking about what we wanted in a space, and how we wanted to be part of the community, and create community through printing, and it all started coming together.
After spending a year eating lunch together and planning, planning, planning we opened our doors in June of 2013. We had been awarded a $1000 grant through the Awesome News Task Force, as a newsworthy project that is happening in Detroit. That was our budget and all the start-up money we had. With that $1000 we built a dark room, a light table, a wash-out booth, and bought some basic supplies. With this and some older equipment, we had the bones of a print shop. We opened in time to partner with the Allied Media Projects (AMP) and the Detroit Future Media (DFM) classes (DFM teaches media-based skills to Detroiters for grassroots community work). The graphic design class applied their skills to a tangible output through learning to screen print. The screen printing portion of the class took place at OPS, and that was our first educational experience in the shop. It was so much fun to have people in our space working and learning.
Since those first months we have taught an Introduction to Screen Printing class every month, and we have now taught hundreds of students how to screen print. We have supported over 100 members to create beautiful work, and made countless t-shirts, posters, business cards, invitations, and many other printed things. From shop profits, we have upgraded our equipment, and were granted a Kiva loan to buy a brand new press to increase our production. We still value ingenuity and reuse of old materials and creative use of resources.
In 2015 we were honored to be a recipient of an NEIdeas award for small businesses. With that money we were able to buy new equipment for our members to use, as well as more equipment to make the commercial printing we do go smoother, faster, and look even better. Our biggest upgrade was in the summer of 2015, when we asked one of our long-time members to be a fourth partner in the business. Since she has joined, we have increased our capacity for memberships and commercial work, as well as refined many aspects of our business by having a fresh perspective on processes.
In the past four and a half years, we have grown and changed in many ways, but we still stay true to our values and commitment to being a space that we want to come to every day. The reality of what we have built is even more beautiful than how we envisioned it. We are located at 3535 Cass Ave, in the heart of the Cass Corridor. The building we are in has a strong history of fostering community based grassroots organizations. The Cass Corridor Neighborhood Development Corporation (CCNDC) owns the building, and are deeply invested in the immediate community, and its place in Detroit. We are neighbors with The Hub Bike Shop, as well as Back Alley Bikes. Detroit Summer also uses space in the CCNDC building.
Stacey, Kinga, Bayard & Melissa