Sunday, November 1, 2015

Saying Good-Bye to Studio 81

This is probably one of the most difficult announcements I've had to make in a long time.   The building that houses Studio 81 and Ann Litrel Art has been sold, and we will be moving out very soon.  I have decided to close Studio 81 at the end of November.  

I was lucky to call this space my Home Away From Home for five years.  The opportunity to share this space with Ann came at a time that I found myself desperately needing a place to work without the constant needs of my two very young children.  (Although...there were a lot of times they came and painted there with me!)

One of the first regular classes, and one of the staples at the studio, was our weekly Figure Drawing group.  We've had several hundred sessions over the last few years, very fortunate to have a roster of incredibly talented and generous figure models that inspired us every week.

And of course I could not have kept the studio open without my morning painting classes and mini workshops.  There have been numerous faces in and out of these groups over the years, and as life keeps taking us on our journey, health, finances, obligations often changed the size of the groups, but the joy that teaching brings me never wavered.

Over the past few months, I realized that the studio - while never in the red, and I am thankful for that - was not generating enough income for me to justify, as a single mother, maintaining the space.  This was very difficult for me, because I never really thought of the studio as "Mine".  The studio always became Alive when it was filled with creative souls, and I felt - as I am sure Ann did - that this space was meant to be here, in downtown Woodstock.  It was destined to bring creative souls together. And it was partly my privilege to do so.

One of the things I am most grateful for is the fact that this gorgeous space, nestled in the heart of our wonderful downtown, allowed me to bring some of the most amazing artists today to teach workshops.  Casey Baugh ended up teaching four workshops here, Kerry Dunn twice, and Jeff Hein will be back in just a couple weeks to help celebrate the final weeks of our studio with his second workshop.  These workshops invigorated me, inspired me, and have helped me grow both as an artist and as instructor.  They will forever be some of my favorite memories at the studio.

Looking through photos, I realize that my children have greatly benefited from enjoying the space as well.  They often created along side me, or used the quiet time to read, and grew up these last five years getting to know downtown Woodstock.  It was important for me, too, that they saw me having a place to work and create.  

And anyone who has met my children know that they are quite the characters.  Jack would stand on the sidewalk shouting out "Art Show!  Come see the Art Show!" for Friday night live (when he wasn't entertaining the adults, of course!)  

Critique nights, Friday Night Live, watching the sunset from the roof, sharing wine with friends, laughing until it hurts, spilling pastels (you know who you are!), explaining the naked woman in the middle of the room to the police officer, and way too many other memories to count.  What a joy it has been to call this studio Home for as long as I have, and it was only a home because I got to share it with all of you.

So what will happen next?  Well my Tuesday morning students barely took a breath before they started planning who would get to host the first class at their house!  So I don't think they'll let me sit idle for too long!  And I wouldn't have that any other way.  

The first thing on my to-do list will be to liquidate as much of the props, furniture, easels, and of course - ART - at the studio in the next few weeks.  

And, I am currently looking for a home, hopefully with a home studio space.  

In some ways, I hope that saying good-bye to this space will help me pursue one of my biggest goals, which is to get to the point where I can teach a workshop anywhere in the world.  If I keep the studio, I will always be in the mindset of bringing students and other artists to me.  I'm excited about the new adventure of going out into the world and teaching all over.  

What beautiful bookends I have on my time in the studio - how the universe brought me the opportunity at a time when my on-line business was bringing in enough money for me to pay the rent and start teaching.  When I needed a space outside my home, when I needed to remind myself that I was more than just Mom.  And now, as the universe has set this move in motion, I am lucky enough to have a large commission that will carry me through the next few months as I settle into a new teaching routine, and I feel that it is also that nudge to "Go...pursue the next step".  I am tearfully grateful that I am being watched out for.

Thank you so much, Ann Litrel, for seeing the beauty and potential in this gorgeous room, and allowing me to share it with you all of these years.  And thank you to every single one of you who made it all worth while.

I will be sending out a final schedule for the month, including our last two Figure drawing evenings, my last Friday Night Live, and the big studio clearance sale.

Much love to you all, and Happy Creating,


1 comment:

Alejandro Castanon said...

I'm sorry to hear you had to sell your shared studio space. But change is good and new doors will open for you. I'm a great fan of your work and own a few original pieces. Keep up the amazing work. We need your art in this world.