June 2023
Bees Getting Busy
The Art Hive collective studios opening soon

We’re starting to see some new life emerging on North Cortez Street since Deppeana LLC acquired many of the properties on the north block, where people once got off the train to enter Prescott. Currently you can stand on the corner next to that curiously unused parking lot next to the Raven facing north and see a lot of empty buildings. We can anticipate many new, innovative and community-forward ventures on that block soon.

One exciting business soon to open is the Art Hive, an artists collective, which is taking up residency in what was previously the Antiques Mart, next to Murphy’s restaurant.

Studio spaces vary in size, and can be furnished to taste.

Last year painter Cloud Oakes was in a painting class and asked if anyone knew of affordable studio space that could accommodate people with physical disabilities, thinking specifically of her stepfather. Crickets was all she heard, but then someone recommended she speak with the group that had just purchased some properties on Cortez. Cloud reached out to Ty Fitzmorris of Deppeana, who showed her a space he thought would nicely suit an artists collective. The space was far bigger than she’d envisioned and needed a lot of work, but as she looked deeper she saw the potential. “You could see the light shining from under all the stuff in the building.”

Cloud has established cooperative businesses before, and is well suited to create this collective of maker spaces. The Art Hive is 25 individual studio spaces in a range of sizes that people can rent at very reasonable rates.

Cloud Oakes at her easel

When Cloud began working on the project in January word somehow spread, and without any advertising, and before the building was finished or even ready to use, nearly all the spaces had been claimed. Many artists in Prescott need space of their own to spread out and get their work done, but they can also benefit greatly from being around other creative doers.

Cloud emphasizes that these studio spaces are not just for visual artists, but for anyone who needs space for creative endeavor, though there will be no kiln or welding onsite. Renters currently include a mosaic artist, painters, fiber artists, a sound recording artist, musicians, bloggers, digital artists, muralists, metal sculptors, photographers, a framer, and a miniaturist. There will be no exclusivity contract or representation agreements. Members will be tenant artists.

Spacious common area welcomes artists and the public.

When you enter the building you’re in a large gallery space at the front of the building, which will host regular shows and be open for regular visiting hours, plus the 4th Friday Art Walk. At the back of the gallery is a wide corridor with studios on either side. The walls along the studio fronts will be a walking gallery where resident makers can display their work. There are several open common areas where people can relax and gather, have coffee or potlucks. The layout keeps the hallways wide open to create a flow where people can pass through or linger. The studios in the front are more retail-oriented, while those in the back are more private.

Each artist can set up their space just as they want it. The hallway takes you through a framing studio and on to a large soundproof space that will be both a band-practice room and workshop space for classes. Adjacent to the Art Hive will be a toy store that will have space in the back for children’s art classes and parties.

Clementine Giordano will be offering services as Framing by Clementine.

Cloud and the Hive board of directors have put a lot of thought into how to structure this project to both benefit the community and remain affordable for creatives needing space to work. Rents for studio space range from $150 to no more than $500 per month, including utilities and internet, plus access to workshop space should someone want to teach a class. The workshop/band-practice room is available to rent at $50 for a four-hour session and is available for musicians and other artists to rent on a first-come basis.

The Art Hive mission includes an educational component, so we can expect some great opportunities to learn from our local creative thinkers. The Hive also plans to underwrite artist apprentices in the future, boosting their maker mojo by providing learning opportunities for local youth.

Members will meet on a regular basis to collectively decide on shows for the gallery, share resources and conduct Hive business. In addition to the monthly Art Walk there will be regular weekly hours when the facility will be open to the public to walk through and visit the working studios.

I met with Cloud and several artists getting ready to move into their rented studios. Many Hive renters were invited to come for this interview, but as it happened those who showed up all happened to be painters. Carole Jolly already has a studio at her home, but was excited about the prospect of being part of a larger network of artists. “You need to be accountable to growing and expanding. When you’re in a group you can’t help but try different things.” Carole is also looking forward to the Hive’s participation in Prescott’s monthly Art Walk, especially the June event, when it plans to host a dance troupe. Sharing a space where artists will be coming and going, passing each other’s studios, there will be opportunities for sharing work in progress, commenting and observing. Anna Fallon, who works in oils, promised, “It will pique your artist’s curiosity. You’ll have an opportunity to see your art in a different way. It’s so exciting, I get goosebumps!” Anna Swigart, who began seriously painting since she retired five years ago, has no space to work in her home, so she’s anxious to have more regular interaction with other artists.

The Art Hive will operate as a 501c3, so will be eligible for tax-deductible donations and grants. We look forward to following the multimedia cross-pollination and blossoming of this busy art hub. Make sure to add it as an Art Walk destination every month.

To learn more about the Art Hive, visit arthive.space.

Abby Brill is Associate Editor of 5enses.

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