Railroad Arts District expands the local art scene.
Rumbling and rattling, the train passes within 20 feet of the strip of shops and offices at 11 Coolidge Ave., providing a moving art show of graffiti.
“It’s kind of cool when the train goes by,” said Angel Lowden, artist. “It fills the area with energy. It’s fascinating to see the graffiti from all over.”
The row of rental spaces looks a little different from other warehouse/industrial buildings in the area with its brick front. And most of the tenants are different also. One artist after the other has moved in, creating a new arts district.
The area has been called the Railroad District for several years, with Ormond Brewing Company located down the tracks on Division Avenue and Steel Oak Coffee in the Coolidge Avenue shops. It’s now becoming known as the Railroad Arts District, with brewing beer and coffee also considered an art.
Lowden, who owns The Studio by Artist Angel Lowden, said the local art scene needs room to grow beyond Granada Boulevard, known as the Ormond Arts District.
“I want a space in our community where creatives can get together and flourish as a business,” she said.
Sharing her studio space is Niki Mousikos, who teaches cello, violin and piano, and Matt Friese, who has a studio for his pyrography. In other studios in the Coolidge Avenue shops, there’s Karlene McConnell, abstract landscapes; Teri Althouse, finishing artist; and Kavi, mixed media.
It’s a row of working studios with Althouse, Lowden, Friese and Mousikos offering lessons and workshops on an appointment basis.
A good time to find artists in residence in on Saturday, which is also a good time because Steel Oak Coffee has coffee tastings each Saturday. Carl and Michele Dupper have operated Steel Oak, which distributes to local restaurants, in the facility since 2016.
Growth of the Railroad Arts District is expected. A new industrial/warehouse building is planned across the street and Lowden looks forward to moving into a larger space. She said local artists who want a studio should watch for openings in the Railroad Arts District.
Being together in the same complex allows artists to share thoughts and ideas.
“Art is solitary work but artists need feedback,” McConnell said.
Althouse agreed, saying it’s motivating to share ideas and get positive criticism.
Lowden said when traveling to places such as Asheville, North Carolina, and Colorado, she sees many warehouse spaces converted to art studios.
“I want to see that happen here,” she said.