We are pushing, persevering, driving, persisting, enduring, surviving…
For years, we have been dreaming of an EXPANDED MIXED MEDIA STUDIO + adjoining POTTERY STUDIO. We had outgrown our cozy little well-loved studio but didn’t want to leave our beloved South Charlotte community where we’ve been for the past 11 years. We wanted to be able to do more, and do it better. We wanted to reach more kids, and be able to offer new ways for them to grow up with art and creativity playing a bigger role in their young lives.
In July 2019, we were asked to consider a space at WAVERLY SHOPPING CENTER. At first we thought no way! Waverly is an upscale mixed use development exactly one stop light up the road, and the day that acres & acres of beautiful trees were bulldozed, I decided to hate it. When they put up the “Coming Soon: Waverly” sign I thought Waverly Schwaverly. bleeecht
But then Whole Foods opened. And we started hosting adult workshops in their community room and I found myself spending afternoons upstairs in their spacious seating area catching up on emails and grazing on exotic salads. And then Viva Chicken opened. And, well… what’s not to love about Viva Chicken?? Then came Cycle Bar, and I reluctantly did a spin class here & there.
Then the call to go lay eyes on this empty space. I was exhausted after a long day of summer camp, but at the sound of “corner space” my husband and I literally catapulted over to take a peek! Here is a video from that day:
And now here I am, one year and one global pandemic later, sitting alone inside this spacious, too-good-to-be-true corner studio, doors wide open, sunlight flooding in. The space that existed ONLY IN MY HEAD for so long is real.
I made a lame attempt to postpone this move, but construction started literally the day after we had to close for the Covid shutdown. I didn’t come near here for two months during the shutdown (not easy since I live 3 min away!), afraid I would find that construction was moving forward. Afraid I would find that it wasn’t. Either option was equally scary. But then one day I had the nerve to peek in the window and <gulp>, it was happening. Turns out construction in Charlotte was considered “essential”. Who knew?
It is everything I ever wanted, but not how I wanted it.
For one, the word *I* in that sentence feels all wrong to me. I miss our TEAM. It’s what WE wanted. Isn’t it? Everyone is scattered, at home quarantining or tending to little people in their family, or teaching in schools, stretched to new limits. We have a new team that I’m incredibly grateful for, but it hasn’t felt “whole” or fair to them, because I miss everyone who isn’t here. I hope they all eventually return, but I don’t know how or when, and take nothing for granted. THEY were such a huge part of my vision, and they are MISSING. It makes me sad, and question where we go from here.
Earlier today, before I started writing this – well, it’s really what prompted writing this – I found a video on my phone from this day exactly one year ago. My husband and I were a few months into the “process” of deciding if this was “the” place. I was in full manifestation mode.
And then shortly after I found that video today, as I was sitting here by myself typing, he literally JUST WALKED IN… with cookies! On a lunch break that he NEVER takes. Ever. Wearing – I kid you not – the same clothes. Does anyone remember that movie Somewhere in Time?
Watch the video – it’s timestamped to prove I’m not making this up!
So. There you go. FULL. CIRCLE. MOMENT.
And here we are. We are so incredibly grateful to be here, and to have this opportunity to try! And to be scraping by! If it all goes away tomorrow, we had a great run! My heart goes out to new businesses who were just getting started, just beginning to realize their dreams. Keep pushing!
We may not be able to afford a sign on the building anytime soon, but every day we get to come in and the lights still come on – every class with only two or three students – is multiplied by 100 and added to our mounting debt of gratitude, and we intend to repay every penny of it, one enthusiastic happy paint stroke at a time.