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Davis, California

Tuesday, May 30, 2023

Artists Studios to open downtown this summer

The Downtown Davis Open Artists Studios project is now underway, intent on bringing more color to the Davis community. The venture will introduce new artists’ studios into the downtown area, and will also deliver more opportunities for the public to learn about art.

The project is spearheaded by the Downtown Davis Business Association (DDBA), in conjunction with local artist groups. Michael Bisch, co-president of the DDBA, said that the idea for the studios was first discussed last fall.

“There was expressed need for affordable artist workspace,” he said. “Another factor was the community desire for an arts and entertainment district.”

The studios are scheduled to take over the Court-N-Cedar building at 231 G Street and will house approximately 20 to 22 artists.

Construction is currently underway to renovate the existing office space into a more suitable zone for artist workshops. The second floor is set to be open for use mid-summer, with the street level following toward the end of the year.

Although the project remains in the preliminary stages, Bisch said that the structure for the studios has already been finalized. The studios are being modeled using a starter kit produced by the Torpedo Factory, an art studio, in Alexandria, Virginia. The goal is to provide a single space where artwork can be created, displayed, discussed and purchased. The public is welcome to experience the entire artistic process: to watch artists work and to talk with them about their pieces.

Artists are required to submit an application along with samples of their work in order to be considered for a space. Nina Gatewood, deputy director of the DDBA, said that like the Torpedo Factory, the selection of artists will be decided by jury panel.

“The artists will not only be judged on quality, but also on their potential to make good use of the space,” she said.

Preference will be given to artists whose work is two-dimensional, such as painters and photographers, as opposed to the three-dimensional styles of sculpture or ceramics. Gatewood said that the artists who are selected will have to commit to a certain number of hours per week and must be willing to talk with visitors.

The cost of a space in the Court-N-Cedar building will be a one-time security deposit of $250. The rent for a 10-foot by 10-foot quadrant is $150 per month.

According to Associate Pastor Bill Habicht at the Davis Community Church, who runs the Facebook page for the studios, the next planning meeting will occur today at 9 a.m. The meeting will be at the Dresbach-Hunt-Boyer House at 604 Second Street next to the Varsity Theatre. All interested parties are invited to attend.

CHLOE BREZSNY can be reached at city@theaggie.org.