Young at Art is an arts and crafts studio for all ages. When you come in to the studio there is such a happy and creative atmosphere. The artists (mostly ages 2-12) are painting on the easels or on a kid's racecar that we took the motor and wheels out of, making jewelry, crafting with all types of fun and recycled items, or just building in our sandbox and play doh stations. There is so much for them to do. The little artists never want to leave. Parents/grandparents always apologize as they try to get their little ones out the door. I see it as a compliment. The kids love Young at Art! It's a ritual already for many families to come in once a week and create. It's such a great experience. It's a hands-on and creative studio that helps little artists express themselves. We also welcome artists of all ages that have disabilities. Creating a studio that is welcoming of all artistic creations without judgement is important. Freedom in creating whatever you want at the studio is also another reason why our artists continue to come back. Sometimes rules in art just doesn't make sense.
On October 10, 2014 I received a phone call from my landlord that was pretty disturbing. He reminded me that our lease was up at the end of the year and that he was unable to renew it. I asked him why, and he told me that they are opening up a smoke shop next to our studio, and that the smoke shop wanted our space as well for a lounge area. The space next to us shares a joining door and bathroom so it would be easy for the landlord to rent out both spaces for one business. Which is exactly what happened.
I along with the community took this news very hard. There are already two other smoke shops within a mile and a half of us. Why do we need another one, and why are we losing a great place for kids because of it? My landlord had already made up his mind, and on November 1st our new neighbors moved in next door, and at the beginning of next year they will have our space.
I have already had a few issues with the smoke shop next door. Not only have I had a few issues, but so have our artists. If we could pack up and move to a new location today we would. To get into our studio you most likely have to walk by our neighbors first. The windows are large with bright neon lights. Their inappropriate retail is very visible. Kids are asking what they are selling and why are they next to a kid's place.
The reason we haven't already moved is financial. Our family had put in all of our savings to start Young at Art, and now we do not have that to start all over. We are surviving month to month. First month, last month, and deposits to just get into a new place is just financially impossible for us. We need help or the studio cannot continue. I have gone back on the decision to start the studio all over many times. It's going to be extremely hard, but we can do it. Our community needs to show our kids how hard we need to fight for art and what we truly feel is important to our community!
Young at Art would love your help! We want a new home for our studio. A place that's safe, fun, and filled with creativity. Any amount helps and please spread the word to anyone you know that feels the same way as we do about art, kids, and their community!
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