Staple Goods Collective and Studios, by Aaron Collier

Through the community development corporation connected to the church, we recently started renovating a double camelback house on St. Roch Avenue that will be reconfigured into six artists' studios, a collective exhibition space, and a two-bedroom apartment.

The project begs the question: why spend time and resources on a project focusing on cultural goods in this neighborhood?  Aren't there far more pressing needs?  We believe that what creation makes with what the Creator has given reflects what we believe to be true about the Creator. The arts, among other "makings" and "doings" of human hands, are a working out of what we believe or do not believe about God and His Word.  Our aim is to create a space conducive to the dialogue and interaction that the arts uniquely and inherently afford.

Art and its creation is a staple to a thriving community.  The planned studio and exhibition space at 1340 St. Roch Avenue merges the St. Roch neighborhood with the burgeoning art scene on St. Claude Avenue (our main street) in hopes of building bridges between residents and artists. The studio spaces will afford artists the opportunity to create rather than merely exhibit work in our neighborhood.  Likewise, the space will allow residents of all ages opportunity to physically look in on the process of constructing various cultural goods and have relationships with present artists.  In addition to the studios, the collective's exhibition space will include a variety of programming, including everything from two/three-dimensional visual art to video/film projects, performances, readings, and lectures.  This modest exhibition space is aimed at making art and its creation accessible and inviting to neighborhood residents. 

A two-bedroom apartment fills half of the first floor of the property and will allow an artist and his/her family an affordable residential dwelling. The occupying resident will serve as a superintendent to the functioning studios. The vision is thus to incorporate the three facets of the working artists' life (residence, studio space, and exhibition space) into a single property, all of which are immediately present and invested in the life of the neighborhood.