In 2000 through his work with the Washington Architectural Foundation Greg Kearley met Rhonda Buckley, founder and, at the time, executive director of the Sitar Arts Center. The Washington Architectural Foundation brings together architects and non-profit organizations who are in need of pro-bono professional design services. When they first met, the Sitar Center was housed in a basement of an apartment building and was serving a few dozen children through arts education, primarily music lessons. Inscape Studio, the precursor and sister firm to Inscape Publico, was doing business in a one-room office above a Greek restaurant. Not necessarily a rag-tag partnership, but a collaboration that wouldn't inspire confidence to get a state-of-the-art facility built at a cost of four million dollars.
With Inscape along for the ride, Rhonda willed the project through to completion. Four years after their first meeting, the Sitar Arts Center moved into its new home designed by Inscape Studio. The following year Greg was sitting in their theater watching the first annual Sitar summer musical production, The Wiz (set design by Inscape). It was a reminder of why Inscape chooses to work with like-minded organization such as the Sitar Center. We believe that architecture has the power to inspire; and watching the performance that day confirmed that assertion.
Traveling west from Jalalabad to Kabul, Afghanistan in the winter of 2002, Greg wasn't thinking about the bricks and mortar that would make up the women's centers Inscape was designing for Relief International, but rather his attention was on how the driver would navigate the treacherous highway that connected the two cities in that war-torn country. Earlier that year Greg had started a conversation with Farshad Rastegar that led to Inscape providing design services to his organization after he had serendipitously met a Greg's colleague at a Metro station in Washington, DC. Farshad is the CEO and founder of Relief International, a humanitarian non-profit agency that provides emergency relief, rehabilitation, development assistance, and program services to vulnerable communities worldwide. The conversation that started at a Metro station eventually lead to the design and subsequent construction of three women's centers in a country where, during the rule of the Taliban, 1996 - 2001, women were forbidden to work, leave the house without a male escort, or seek medical help from a male doctor.
Concurrently, with the work Greg does with Inscape Studio and now also with Inscape Publico, he has had the opportunity to serve on the board of directors of several non-profit organizations. The time spent with these organizations has been an invaluable education into the workings of organizations that serve the common good. For the last two years Greg has served as board chair at the Latino Economic Development Corporation . LEDC's mission is to drive the economic and social advancement of low to moderate income Latinos and other DC area residents by equipping them with the skills and tools necessary to achieve financial independence and become leaders in their communities. His time as board chair at LEDC has given Greg a better understanding of how non-profits operate. He can connect the dots within a non-profit organization with a greater understanding of the fiduciary responsibilities of a 501(c)(3), program management, and development strategies. Most importantly, he has gained the understanding that the people you serve are your greatest asset.
In the fall of 2008 stock markets crashed worldwide, creating an uncertain climate for many non-profits. It was at this time that Greg began the conversation, mostly in his head, which would lead to Inscape Publico. Up until that point Inscape Studio had been able to work selectively with non-profits designing projects like the Sitar Arts Center and the Afghan Women's Centers. The idea was to create a non-profit architecture firm that would be able to spend 100% of its time dedicated to creating inspiring spaces for other non-profits and the people they serve, this at significantly reduced fees. The particulars of Inscape Publico came together in 2010 through his ongoing dialogue with Stefan Schwarzkopf, a senior associate at Inscape Studio and now Design Director at Inscape Publico. In 2011 we received a letter from the IRS grating us our tax exempt status.