For most of the year my 1700 sq. ft. space upstairs was glorious! The natural light was so lovely, the space was perfect, and I began to expand my business because I finally had space. The only draw back was the stairs in this older building, and with no elevator, my orthopedic issues revealed that the space was not a long term option for me. Once again, doors opened, literally, and the chapel and a smaller space came open downstairs. My heart broke at the thought of moving again, but I knew it was going to be just fine.
One month ago I gained access to this space after the previous tenants moved, and my wheels started turning about the potential of the chapel. It is about half the size that I had upstairs, but I knew being a whole space would give me options I didn’t have upstairs. Because multiple revenue streams are so important these days, I knew this room had to serve three options: gallery space, working space, and workshop space. I also added rental space because it is such a magical experience here, hosting dinners and small, intimate events connected with my desire to build a place for making memories, not simply making money.
Because I am a colorist I knew my art would bring a huge amount of color. I didn’t have a budget to change the floors, so I found really affordable rugs and tar paper which I could paint. I scoured yard sales for inexpensive chairs, got a lot of furniture donated from the church, and scored some huge deals on fabrics at discount “time to get rid of” prices. I also grabbed the china from a ‘long’ time ago that sits and never gets used, along with some discarded pieces I found through friends, and began to build my place settings for dinners. It was exciting and exhausting but I wouldn’t have changed a thing.
With my design sense going, I also had a short time frame, two weeks basically before my first week long workshop and 50th birthday. Yes, it was a bit nuts but the timing was essential for many reasons and with the help of so many friends and family, we go it done. 6 dear friends and artists flew in and spent a week with me, painting, laughing, learning, and celebrating a mid-century turning point for me! Thrive Catering fed us well every day and we were able to use the space as it was intended, to build experiences and memories.
Since opening, I have be blessed with having friends and family and strangers walk in my space and express an instant sense of joy and uplifting. This makes every single exhausting minute worth it. As a working artist, I have come to understand that long days and tireless effort are both part of making a beautiful living as business woman. I have also learned that all of the work and the spaces we create in can be so much more than simply ‘work spaces.’ They can be places of connection, of learning, of beautiful things, and spaces to share friendship. These are the reasons that make me most proud of this space.
I am so looking forward to bringing groups together here, to building creative things that are beyond the ordinary, to teaching others how important their own marks are, and of helping other artists learn about the business of making a living as a creative. There is so much to learn, so much to share that we all hold dear. I have finally carved out a space to facilitate that. A bit of Alice goes to church but lives in The Land of Ardithian space.
Today I had a chance to sit in my space and just take it in a bit. It has been a monument task pulling this off, but my heart couldn’t be more full. I love being a painter, creating things out of other things, and impacting the human hearts of those in front of me. This space gives me a home to do that in big ways and I couldn’t be more proud of where I have come and what is to come.
Open House is on December 9th from 9-4 pm at 1260 Dauphin St. I do hope to see many of you there as the amazing studios of the other artists at Central as well as a Christmas Maker’s Market will be held as well. Ring the bells of a beautiful season friends!