Local readers may have heard tell –perhaps through annarbor.com or markmaynard.com, though not The Ypsilanti Citizen, bizarrely enough– of a new artist-related endeavor in Ypsi called SPUR Studios, which is “a collection of private work spaces for artists, musicians, and other creative people” made possible by Ypsilanti institution (Ynstitution™) and screen-printing extraordinaire, VGKids. The goal of the studios is to become a sort of creative nexus for the area while offering exceptionally affordable and highly customizable studios. And by exceptionally affordable I mean close to $1/square foot per month. And by highly customizable I mean that SPUR actively encourages renters to take considerable liberties in modifying their spaces. Carpet, drywall, and even windows are safe from neither whim nor lease agreement. I’ve already witnessed the installation of a hardwood floor in a 10’x12′ unit upstairs, which contrasted nicely with one of the larger basement areas that in a couple short weeks has transformed itself from a white carpeted room with 5 large windows to a boarded up dungeon with black and red insides. Says Steve Emschwiller, one of the building managers, “We are trying to make a great place for artists by providing them with a building they can make into their own, drawing inspiration from that, and [from] each other’s ideas … We want the building to come together by each tenant’s own personality.”
Not surprisingly, I found the whole thing irresistible and signed up for one of the smaller spaces (SPUR 27) at the first given opportunity. For a hundred dollars a month I get 24-7 access to a 9’x9′ studio and the opportunity to immerse myself a little further in the Ypsilanti creative community. SPUR 27 is located on the upper floor, which has been designated for use by visual artists. Bands dominate the basement level, though I haven’t really heard much from them yet, and the only guy I know that’s well on his way to being set up down there is actually in leather work (Marty Flint, he of the aforementioned blacked-out dungeon). I don’t have any such grandiose plans for little old #27, although eventually I’d like to get it set up such that I can tinker and build things and paint and perhaps house a modest assortment of tools and materials and whatnot. Below is the view in and the view back out, as documented at the open house last month before signing.
Frankly, it doesn’t look a whole lot different right now. It harbors a very large and functional (and holy crap, heavy) corner desk and a book shelf and not much else, though it’s certainly enough for me to use to work on drawing, writing, and anything computer-based. Anyway, I look forward to posting a follow up once the thing is fully fleshed out and operational, along with pics of other folks’ spaces to illustrate how comparatively unambitious I am in my accomodations.