The Artists Upstairs – Yes We Can!

Most of us started creating art in our parents’ basement, in our bedroom, or maybe on the dining room table if there was a dining room. So actually to have a studio is within itself a dream come true–let alone to have a community of artists and their studios!


On any floor of the building that’s home to the group known as City Artists at Work, you can find a number of artists sometimes laboring away or just talking or just hanging out in the hall. That’s what artists do! This group came together when three of the artists fled from their studios in an unnamed building in the Flats several years ago because the rents were going up and the maintenance was going down. Even on a bright sunny day, the building gave the impression of a dark cave where a murder could take place at any moment. Not the most conducive environment for the creative spirit!


Now each of us has a lockable space that varies as much as the style of the art produced. There are tidy studios that could easily pass an health inspection, and others that defy description. We do share, however, one thing in common: we are well aware that the space we have would cost a big bundle more in any other major city in the US.


We are also humbled by our awareness that these spaces at one time housed other, more profitable businesses, turning out products that people not only wanted, but needed. With that in mind, we are willing to put up with and accept slight concerns, like peeling paint, dust, reformatory style bathrooms and windows that refuse to close. In exchange for these petty inconveniences, we can work in our studios from dawn until dusk and even after that. We can experiment and research new ideas and leave the mess for the next day. We can work on two or five pieces at the same time, we can create a gallery in our studios and open them up for folks to admire.


We are all very grateful for having studios at long last, where we can produce and store more work than we can possibly sell. We can go out to lunch at a number of inexpensive ethnic restaurants in the neighborhood or feel superior that our building has a gym, even though the thought of joining never crosses our minds.


Breaking even each year is the measure of success after we pay the rent, electricity, gas, water, fees, insurance and supplies. To be able to do that is certainly better than having stayed in that studio basement.



City Artists At Work

2218 Superior Avenue

Cleveland, Ohio 44114