Carol Hall, entrepreneur and owner of The Hallway Entertainment, poses for a photo outside the former Art Studio 1219 building in downtown Port Huron on Sept. 24, 2020. Hall is reimagining and reinventing the space, renaming it Foundry. (Photo: Bryce Airgood/Times Herald)
The name Art Studio 1219 is gone from the building at 1219 Military St. in Port Huron.
Instead, local entrepreneur Carol Hall, owner of The Hallway Entertainment, is reimagining, reinventing and renaming the space.
“This place is going to be called Foundry,” she said during a tour of the building Thursday, describing it as a “home for creators.”
In May, The Downtown Development Authority, which co-owns 1219 Military St. with the Community Foundation of St. Clair County, set a special meeting to approve a $225,000 sale of the property to Hall.
The Community Foundation originally partnered with the DDA in 2005 to open the arts nonprofit, along with regular financial support of the Acheson Foundation, and the organization and gallery eventually evolved into the Art Studio 1219 nonprofit.
Art Studio 1219 is no longer on the space at 1219 Military St. in downtown Port Huron. The hub for artists is now called Foundry, named by local entrepreneur Carol Hall who is transforming the space. (Photo: Bryce Airgood/Times Herald)
“At this time, the nonprofit organization Studio 1219 will not exist as many have known it over the years,” Jackie Hanton, vice president at the Community Foundation, said in an email. “But the nonprofit will remain to help transition the 1219 Military Street building into the new exciting space for the arts that it’s becoming.”
Hanton said the nonprofit continues to provide governance and support to the new operating management.
“Carol is the face of the operations,” she said.
Hall has been actively working on the building for a couple weeks and hopes to have a soft opening in mid-November.
While it was previously used more to display and sell art, now it will focus on being a place to create.
Different parts of Hall’s vision for the transformed space include the following:
- The entrance: When people walk into Foundry, the first room on their right will have a projector, which will project onto the wall everything that is happening in the building. On the left, there will be some sort of interactive art room. Hall wants it to be a form of art that people can participate in or that causes them to be “mesmerized by the process of creating.”
- Traditional artist space: Walking up the initial steps into the building, people are going to experience the feel of an “English cottage greenhouse.” This will be a space for painters and traditional artists to rent space with locked storage space.
- A typical gallery: One space in the building will remain the same, which is the building’s art gallery. It is the place where artist’s work for sale will be displayed.
- A textile room: One room will be used for textile art, like knitting or crocheting. It’s a place where book or crochet clubs can meet.
- Performance art space: There are two big open rooms upstairs that will be for unique events like a stage makeup class and performative arts. “Think living art,” Hall said.
- Photography/video room: There is a room that will have professional lights, stands and hanging backgrounds for professional quality photos and video.
- The listening room: The previous classroom with painting and collage making materials upstairs will now be “the listening room.” This is a place for people who are genuinely interested in the art of music. Once it is safe for people to do so again the space can fit 50 to 60 people in it. “I really want to make sure music is part of the creator’s home,” she said.
- Pottery space: The pottery space in the building was mixed-use previously, as some people made pottery for a living there, but it was also used for classes. Now it will be dedicated to professionals creating work.
- Podcast room: A backroom in the building will be soundproofed and people will be able to record podcasts there with the proper equipment.
Hall knows what it’s like to start out in the art industry. She has a bachelor’s degree in photography and part of the idea for this space comes from her own life experiences, putting herself through college with her photography.
“I would’ve died to have a room that I could rent out for a day,” she said.
There’s still work to be done and Hall still needs to set up individual artist spaces, build out performing arts spaces, do a lot on the podcast room and figure out rental prices.
Hall said she talked to more than 60 different artists for input and found what the community needs is a place to create that’s affordable, inspiring and allows them to connect with the community.
Jeanne Burris-Johnson and Virginia Bur, two local artists formerly involved with Art Studio 1219, said in emails Hall hadn’t reached out to them, but they “wish her the very best” and “hope she makes something positive out of it.”
Randa Jundi-Samman, Community Foundation Board Chair, said in an email the building will remain a hub for arts and culture in downtown Port Huron and the organization has confidence that Hall will bring to life a new and exciting vision through Foundry.
“For our local community and the art community, it is makers space meets co-working,” she said. “It will be exciting to see what is dreamed up, shared and created at the Foundry. I think the general public will be excited by the new opportunities they will have to engage in and enjoy the arts beyond just traditional arts.”
Contact Bryce Airgood at (810) 989-6202 or [email protected] Follow her on Twitter @bairgood123.
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