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The Art League moving forward with new studio on Slaters Lane

Almost two months after The Art League filed permits for a Slaters Lane studio, that proposal is heading to the Planning Commission next month with city staff’s blessing.

The Art League is a nonprofit dedicated to bringing art to the community. The nonprofit’s offices and art supply shop, along with a few of their classrooms, are located in the Torpedo Factory, but the larger commercial school is located in the Montgomery Center.

The Montgomery Center is slated for redevelopment, meaning the local businesses and the Art Center are forced to find a new home. Fortunately, The Art League isn’t going far, and it could be moving into an old print shop at 800 Slaters Lane.

The building, constructed in 1951, was a laboratory and a warehouse before it became a print shop in 1996. It kept that use until 2021 when Nordic Press vacated the building.

In the Special Use Permit, The Art League Executive Director Suzanne Bethel said the new facility would be a hub for classes from clay animation to silk screening:

At 800 Slaters Lane, the applicant would provide classroom education and workshops in the fine arts and outreach programs for the local community. Students of all ages and skill levels would be offered courses such as drawing, painting, watercolor painting, fiber art, ceramics, sculpture, printmaking, photography, jewelry making, clay animation, silk screening, and stained glass.

The application said The Art League has almost 7,000 students per year and hopes to open 17 studios in the building.

The staff analysis supported the new use for the print shop.

“Staff supports the applicant’s request to operate the private commercial school use,” the report said. “This property is an opportunity to keep a revered cultural establishment within the City limits and one proven to harmonize within its surrounding community.”

The staff analysis noted that the studio would also activate a vacant building and maintain a unique educational experience for the immediate and broader community without overwhelming the local street system.

Image via Google Maps

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