Why we chose ARTFUL at the Coventry School building

To the Editor:

When we moved (back) to Cleveland after 15 years in Florida and a six-month artist residency in Italy, our search for permanent studio space in Cleveland was influenced by two unexpected factors: gentrification and accessibility.

Many Cleveland buildings that had been homes to artists' studios were being converted to "upscale" locations for "respectable" tenants. And 27 years after the ADA, it was still impossible to find a studio space that would work for a wheelchair-using artist. 

In January, one of our friends sent us a link to ARTFUL, and we submitted our application with our fingers crossed.

When we heard that the studios were, in fact, in our price range, we were so excited! But surely there would be a catch. Maybe we would only have access to the studio during "normal business hours." Or there would be a strict "no children" rule. Or a "no oil painters" rule. Or a "no controversial subject matter" rule.

Or, you know, we wouldn't be able to get to the second floor.

It turned out there weren't any catches. ARTFUL didn't just meet our needs, it exceeded our expectations. We couldn't sign the lease fast enough!

Here's what makes ARTFUL the perfect studio home for us:

1) Kid-friendly! ARTFUL not only allows children in the studios, it fosters a welcoming environment for all ages.

2) Accessible! The space is totally navigable by wheelchair. Last week, there were four wheelchair users hanging out in the studios together—a friend, another ARTFUL artist, the wheelchair-using child of yet another ARTFUL artist, and us.

3) 24-hour access! Artists with "day jobs," artists working multiple jobs, artists with families—they can access their studio at the times that work for them.

4) Privacy! Artists sometimes need to be able to make a mess behind closed doors or have alone time to solve a challenging art problem. Some studio spaces that aren't technically "public" still have odd requirements about artists and their studios being "professional" and "presentable" at all times.

5) Community! As much as we need a private studio with a door, we also want people to be able to stop in and say, “hi.” We can have coffee with other artists in the Flex Space. We can share ideas, tools and information. We love the "Free Stuff" shelves. We're really looking forward to classes and other group events.

6) Networking Opportunities! ARTFUL arranges open studio events and offers opportunities for artists to participate in events off-site. And ARTFUL leaves it completely up to individual artists whether they want to participate or not. There are no "minimum participation" requirements. 

7) Letterpress! We anxiously await training classes. It’s another example of ARTFUL providing artists with resources they'd be unlikely to have access to if working alone.

ARTFUL is exactly what we were hoping to find when we moved back to Cleveland. 

Moco and Maize Steinman-Arendsee

Moco and Maize Steinman-Arendsee
Mandem, ARTFUL artists studio #7

Read More on Letters To The Editor
Volume 10, Issue 7, Posted 12:04 PM, 06.29.2017