ANDERSONVILLE — Saturday night, Stephanie Preston and Jean Cate introduced about 40 of their biggest donors to their new art studio in Andersonville, which they all made possible via crowd funding over the last year.
Though there wasn't much art created Saturday, donors got a sneak peek of the Vignette Vignette studio, at 5407 N. Clark St., which they helped raise more than $15,000 to create via Kickstarter. Saturday's party was one of the perks for the highest donors toward the studio, which they moved into about two months ago, and have been keeping under wraps behind with brown paper lining their storefront windows.
"It was like unwrapping a birthday present being able to take the brown paper down," Preston said. "Everyone came dressed really nice, so we just chatted. We've obviously got a lot of work to do, but it's coming along."
Now, the two are preparing for their grand opening, an open house featuring pottery wheel demos from 5-11 p.m. Friday. The opening happens to coincide with the 13th annual Andersonville Arts Weekend, which celebrates the neighborhood's artistic community and array of locally owned businesses, Preston said.
"That's what we're really looking forward to. It just kind of worked out that we get to open the same weekend as the Andersonville Arts Weekend," she said.
The art school graduates launched the Kickstarter in March for a place where community members can learn how to paint using watercolors, make ceramics and draw. The months since have been around the clock work from acquiring the funds to finding a location for the shop, but they're slowly getting the chance to enjoy it, Preston said.
"We really lucked out with finding a fantastic landlord who has been really encouraging. We couldn't offer what the big companies would offer, but she was willing to work with us," Preston said.
"We're at the point where we're starting to clean up and put things away. And there's that small bit of joy we're seeing from it coming together. This is like the fun part," she said looking around the shop pointing out the small task the duo needs to complete before Friday. "All these pieces are coming together, all our orders are coming in and everything is sort of filling up. By Friday, we'll have a whole new setup."
The two came up with the idea for an art studio a little over a year ago. Since then, the concept has been "refined," Cate said. Now "it's more about the community and bringing people into the art," she added.
The community idea is evident in their programming, which in October will include some seasonally themed workshops and classes such as pumpkin carving. The shop will also host free meals on Sundays with their neighbors at Cesca's Margarita Bar and Grill, where the owners will use handmade pottery to serve meals to those in need.
The first free meal will be on Oct. 18 and will feature soup, Preston said.
Both drop-in and monthlong art classes will be offered. Classes will cost $55 each and this month include nude figure drawing, Halloween costuming, expressive figure drawing and scientific illustrations.
Classes are BYOB and can be registered for here.
For more neighborhood news, listen to DNAinfo Radio here: