As most of you know I have my studio in the Lake Erie Building (aka the Screw Factory). When I moved to Lakewood I never knew it existed. I am from Lorain, a city with nothing to offer artists. My first studio post grad school was supposed to be this great space. I was lucky to have a place right outside of school to work and I found a used kiln. But I was in the hood of Cleveland. Don't get me wrong, I love Cleveland but I can't say I was somewhere I felt safe.
After a series of issues in this space I decided to leave and start shopping around. My friend Ruth told me about the Screw Factory open house she had attended. I checked out the space and decided to call it my new studio home. Because I had to get the hell out of dodge I had to move before my studio was actually built. The landlord was kind enough to let me store my equipment and supplies for free. The tenants were few at that time but my stuff was left untouched and safe during its stay. I could already tell I was going to love the place.
Once I finally settled into the studio I quickly got to work. It was nice for the first time since school and the last studio nightmare to have a space to call my own. No distractions, no one else to deal with. It was my bubble. Often there is nothing I would rather do than spend a Friday night in my studio with some beer and some clay.
After being there for a year I proposed to my neighbors that we do an open studio. The response I got was tremendous. It quickly snowballed and everyone chipped in time, energy and money to help. The amount of tenants has tripled since I first rented a space. The last open studio event tripled in size as well. I feel like I am right where I am supposed to be. I am surrounded by a group of talented and diverse artists. They are some of the best neighbors I could ever ask for. The energy is amazing and I can say that these events are truly a collaboration. The community has been kind enough to give us support and I'm happy to call Lakewood my home.
I love Cleveland but I recognize that there are always going to be people checking in on me to see if I've failed. And I will fail at things. But that's the only way I'll get any better. I'm happy to be right where I am at. I only hope you can say the same.
Thank you to everyone who has supported me and my artwork throughout the years. And thank you to everyone who has supported these open studio events. Your kindness will never go unappreciated.