Faux Marble Floor at Gracie Mansion
Ken Wampler was working as a busy decorative painter in 1995, for some major interior design firms – Parish Hadley among them. He found himself (like many of us at the time) overwhelmed with the losses of talent to the AIDS crisis, and wanted to do something about it. Armed with paint brushes, a wealth of knowledge and an entrepreneurial spirit, he created The Alpha Workshops. Part school/training facility, part laboratory, and part manufacturing facility, The Alpha Workshops seeks to assist HIV+ individuals in gaining new skills as decorative craftsman, and showcases their work for sale to the interior design community. In its 17 year history, the organization has impacted the lives of more than 300 HIV+ men, women and their families by teaching the techniques of a myriad of creative arts disciplines, and stands ready to meet the needs of other chronically ill communities. I visited with Ken this week, and wanted to share why I think AW is a great (underutilized!) resource for bespoke interior design products and painted finishes.