Lawrence Arts Center opens; includes studio space for local artists
Imagine the city of Lawrence as a destination for the arts – a community that embraces creativity and encourages artists to make this their home. That’s the vision of an exciting new partnership between the Lawrence Community Development Corporation (LCDC) and Partnership For Lawrence (PFL). The two groups have spent several months renovating a LCDC-owned building at 4437 North Franklin Road in Lawrence. Home to INDOT during the recent Pendleton Pike upgrade, the building has been converted into four artist studios and a large flex room intended for public art instruction classes. “The Lawrence Arts Center is a place where artists will have private, affordable studio space in which to work, and will also serve as a gathering place to host public art classes and art exhibitions,” said Judy Byron, president, PFL.
Beginning June 1, applications will be taken from artists interested in securing studio space. The monthly rental is $350 including all utilities and wireless Internet access. Studio rental costs can be offset with fees generated from public art classes that will be taught by the resident artists. Free short-term studio space will also be awarded to selected guest artists. “The LCDC had a property that it wanted to share, and opening it for use by the arts community made a lot of sense,” said Judi DeLong, LCDC president. “Lawrence needs the arts and we really didn’t have an appropriate venue for artists to teach or exhibit their work. We had the space and it just seemed logical.”
Don’t believe that the arts matter? Think again. According to a study released by Americans for the Arts, the nonprofit arts and culture industry generates $166.2 billion in economic activity annually. The study’s conclusion lays to rest a common misconception: that communities support the arts and culture at the expense of local economic development. In fact, they are investing in an industry that supports jobs, generates government revenue, and is a cornerstone of tourism.
PFL has applied for a project grant award from the Indianapolis Arts Council to help fund the program offsetting costs for the discount in rent and free studio space to the resident artists, the discounted cost to the students for class fees, and classroom and art supplies. Two art lesson “seasons” are envisioned: Summer (July-September) and Fall (October-December). The four resident artists and six guest artists will teach classes expected to include painting, drawing photography, stained glass, acting, jewelry making and ballroom dancing. Each schedule will include a minimum of 30 class offerings.