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New Spaces: the search for a studio

There are many ways in which a person can utilize a storage unit. The number one way? You guessed it, storage. Clean out your attic! Get organized for the summer, rent a storage unit to fill with things, so that you can fit your car in the garage!

Well as the proud new tenant of my very own storage unit, I can confidently say I am filling it with things! Did I empty out a utility shed? Clean out spare rooms? NO! I am filling my 10 x 12 unit with supplies. Art Supplies.

As I prepare to enter my third year of graduate school (I am working towards my Master’s in Fine Art) I decided that the most productive use of my time would be creating. Since I am spending the summer 8 hours away from my university, and the studio space I occupy there, I was unsure of where I would continue working.​​

Do I take over the small living room? Invading the space of those graciously allowing me to live with them rent free? Do I 47 % ​fire up my loud Dremel and fill the house with both the sounds of carving into Plexiglas as well as the plastic dust particles that float aimlessly?

Instead I began to search the internet for alternative studio spaces. The Co-ops are all full, and the rent on an artist’s studio space astronomical. Then, I found it. An idea utilized by artists across the continent, rent a storage unit, and utilize this space for creativity! In Colorado and California I found entire facilities dedicated to artists and musicians, allowing studio spaces to fill the space! I began to search for a similar location to spend my summer.

Full of excitement, plan in place I begin to call around. I have what seems like only a few requirements, climate controlled, with electric outlets, lights and the approval of the manager to use the space as a studio. Not to mention close, my transportation for the summer is a Schwinn Frontier after all. Simple right? Easy to find?

I found several locations I thought would be perfect, only to be disappointed. “Sorry we are all full”, “no we don’t have outlets inside the unit”, “no you can’t run an extension cord from the hall way!”, “no”, “no”, “NO”! Then came the helpful offers, “Have you tried (insert name of storage facility)”… yes, I did try them, they too are full!​​

After my 9th phone call I begin to become concerned… I start to think about alternatives, what about all my plans? Where will I make work? I began to compromise, maybe I don’t need climate control, I mean, how hot can it get at the beach in July? Maybe a smaller space will be okay, I can make a 5ft X 5ft work right? Then I make a call… and Gail answers. Gail, who is genuinely excited about the idea of an artist working out of the unit. Gail, who ask questions about what I do, and knows what an etching is!

Gail tells me the magic words, she has an available unit. It’s a custom unit, as it used to be the site maintenance unit. At 10ft x12ft the space is large enough, and has two walls that are drywall, and one that is concrete. As it used to be two 5 X12 units, it has two overhead lights, and two doors. Most importantly, it has 3 electric outlets. Ok, so it is not climate controlled… I can handle this.​​

So while others may use their storage units for, well… storage, mine has become a (mostly comfortable) haven of creativity.​​

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