If you’re a new artist ready to take the next step, a budding artist who needs a little bit of support, or a professional who wants to be in the thick of it, the Arts Warehouse is for you. Not only is Arts Warehouse a 15,000-square-foot arts incubator space for studio artists, it’s also home to gallery exhibitions, visual art workshops, professional development opportunities, talks and special events. Out of all of the artistic opportunity, the incubator program is one that sets itself apart by providing exactly what some local artists need.
Right now, 13 resident studio artists call the Arts Warehouse home. Once the artistic community found out about the program in December 2017 and the opportunity the Warehouse provides, there was a point when the studios were at max capacity since opening. A few artists since then have come and gone, but there are a few who have remained since the beginning.
“It’s a great space and wonderful opportunity, and as much as I’d like to, we cannot hold on to residents forever,” said Grace Gdaniec, Arts Warehouse manager. “But I hope that while they are here, we can provide some education and business professional development, as well as an affordable place for artists to build a strong body of work. Perhaps the ‘graduates’ will move on to open their own gallery, studio or arts business once their time at Arts Warehouse is complete.”
Resident artists are signed on as a minimum of a one year term, with a max of four years total available in the studio space. The limit is to not only encourage residents to ensure they have enough time to achieve their goals, but also acts as a way to encourage them to think about their “next step” and prepare for what that might be.
If you’re three of the Arts Warehouse’s most recent arts incubator “graduates,” you know first hand just how amazing the opportunity and support is.
After two years as a resident artist specializing in photography, social media and painting, Colleen Thompson decided that she had achieved her goals for her studio space and considered herself “hatched” from the artist resident incubation period. Her greatest benefit was that she was able to move out of her at-home studio space, which proved to be incredibly isolating, and instead surround herself with other like-minded creatives. She was able to grow her pet portrait business and have more clients than available time, was able to start teaching workshops at a steady schedule, and even jump into photography (specifically commercial and branding photography), which required more traveling and work outside of the painting studio.
Zoe Alexa’s goal was to work on some major projects and bodies of work that had been on hold due to proper lack of space. With the help of the Arts Warehouse, Alexa was able to make new work and even complete long planned project, the interactive sculptural installation called “An Attempt at Getting Over Yourself” in the Resident Artist Exhibition “Inside Out” earlier this year.
After graduating from the Maryland Institute College of Art (MICA) and moving down from Maryland, Emma Childs found home at the Arts Warehouse through the residency program. She was able to create new work and was shown in several shows throughout the year, including the “Open Studio Night” where she shared information about her geometric-shaped canvases that she created from scratch. Her work has been showcased in several online galleries, social accounts, and even British Vogue and other publications. Emma has recently been represented by Rhodes Contemporary Art in London, UK joining a roster of successful artists.
While each artist who enters the studio residency program may have a different set of goals in mind, the end result is always the same: supportive growth for reaching artistic dreams.
“The most frequent comment I receive from the resident artists is a sense of community that they feel among other residents, which is difficult to achieve working from a home studio,” Gdaniec said. “The close proximity and easy access to other creatives serves as a catalyst for collaboration, shared critique, and learning from one another.”
The main goal for the incubator program is to operate as a space for visual artists to have subsidized rent studio spaces that provide professional development as well as visual art workshop opportunities. Overall, Arts Warehouse aims to be a hub for arts education, professional development, and creation for all.
“I hope that we see artists from all backgrounds, working in varying mediums, able to benefit
from the studio space and programs at Arts Warehouse,” said Gdaniec. “If we can continue to help and be a safe space for artists to grow their business and be able to create amazing work, then I think we are doing what we should be doing.”