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Community Arts marked its official start April 1 at T. Rex Hall in Salida, offering studio space to those wanting to continue/start/explore their creative journeys. Gallery space is in the planning stages.

T. Rex Hall is located on E Street across from Salida’s library. Photo by Tara Flanagan

The building, located across from the Salida Regional Library on E Street, formerly housed the local Montessori School. Episcopal Church of the Ascension owns the building and sought a nonprofit organization to take over the space.

“I visited the hall and the space was filled with natural light that seemed to be screaming for artists,” said Director Tara Flanagan. “And so the process began.”

She said Community Arts very much remains a work in progress, with several artists already signed on for shared and individual-room studio space (a few spots remain). There are plans to add learning opportunities, possible mentorships, and events such as writers’ workshops and readings that aren’t necessarily focused on visual arts.

“We’re also planning for some gallery space,” said Flanagan. “We have so many phenomenal local artists and we hope to use Community Arts to expand the exposure they can get. And as a growing arts town, Salida is the perfect place to do all this.”

She noted that the housing crunch makes it tougher for artists to have workable space. “It can be hard to make your art happen when you’re in a small, seriously shared dwelling and are relegated to the kitchen table,” she said. “That means you have to move everything at dinner time, which kind of kills the creative process. We’re hoping to alleviate that by offering dedicated work/play spaces at a reasonable rate.”

For more information, contact Flanagan at 970-390-2157.