A 12,000-square-foot incubator is now open for artists and creative entrepreneurs to bring their ideas to life. Detroit Artists’ Test Lab, located at 14600 Mack Ave. on Detroit’s east side, offers resources, equipment and space needed for artists’ looking to launch their careers or take their craft to the next level. The space includes a 2,500-square-foot professional photography studio, 3,500-square-foot event/gallery and podcast studio for rent, with private offices for lease and co-working space memberships rolling out in the fall.
Detroit Artists’ Test Lab is founded by husband-and-wife collaborators and artists Glenn Urquhart and Kira Kessler, who created the space with the help of Motor City Match grants. The couple also own the historic building that began as a dance hall in 1922 and housed many business through the years before it fell victim to the 2007 recession and was certain to become part of Detroit’s blight problem. After seven years of renovations by Urquhart and Kessler, they have transformed the building into a working, collaborative environment fit for amateur and professional artists and individuals in other creative fields, their clients, residents in the community and as a warm and welcoming home for Urquhart and Kessler and their family.
“We were looking for a place in a diverse, inclusive neighborhood to live, work and play and where we could thrive in our craft and help others blossom as well,” said Urquhart. “Detroit’s east side offers many resources for entrepreneurs, innovators, nonprofits and small businesses, and as entrepreneurs we wanted to find an innovative way to use the building to be able to do the same. We look forward to engaging the artist community at Detroit Artists’ Test Lab in a way that is meaningful and useful to them.”
When Urquhart and Kessler began their journey as entrepreneurs/building owners/homeowners, they immersed themselves into the neighborhood, determined to not only breathe life into the old building, but also to be a part of the movement, area groups working to revitalize the surrounding community.
The gallery, referred to as the Test Lab, functions as a traditional gallery where artists can display their work and host art exhibits, and as a site available for community residents and organizations to enjoy and be creatively inspired, as well as host birthday parties, baby/bridal showers, fundraisers and networking events, whatever suits the needs of the community.
Urquhart and Kessler are members of the Eastside Alliance, Eastside Community Network, Mack Avenue Steering Committee, Embrace Creatives, mentor several artists and many art/mural projects with youth groups.
To commemorate the opening, Urquhart and Kessler will host a celebration at the Detroit Artists’ Test Lab that is free and open to the public from 2 p.m. to 11 p.m. Thursday, June 21, 2018. Festivities will include a ribbon cutting ceremony, guided tours, artist Q&A, open house and more. Attendees can browse the work of seven metro Detroit artists on display throughout the entire building and learn how to become a part of the growing Detroit Artists’ Test Lab community.
The following is the complete grand opening schedule of activities:
2 p.m. – Ribbon Cutting Ceremony
2:30 p.m. and 3:30 p.m. – Test Lab Tours
Guided group tours of Detroit Artists’ Test Lab for an opportunity to see the creative hub, book as a space and learn about memberships.
3:45 p.m. to 6 p.m. – Mini Film Festival
A chaperoned, short film festival for the kids in a designated area, so parents can tour the facility and sit in on the artist Q&A.
4 p.m. to 6 p.m. – LIVE Artist Q&A
The featured artists will be interviewed in a live Q&A panel. Topics of discussion will range from their work to their personal stories and much more.
6 p.m. to 11 p.m. – “Open House” Art Gallery
The “As Detroit’s Own
” curated art show encourages all creatives and fans of art to come out and witness a wide array of talent. Compelling photography, paintings, live street art, film projections and more will be on display.
Resident artists – aka “Lab Rats” – have already been working out of the Detroit Artists’ Test Lab, taking advantage of the many resources at their disposal, including Audio Wave Network podcastershttps://www.facebook.com/audiowavenetwork/
In addition to private offices and co-working space, Detroit Artists’ Test Lab will offer “Lab Rats” and other community artists the opportunity to sell their artistic wares, from T-shirts to fine art, through a vending machine gift shop called “The Experiment.”
Other future on-site Detroit Artists’ Test Lab amenities and offerings include a stage and bar seating, Polaroid photo booth, alley patio and a café featuring locally produced coffees and teas.
For more information or to arrange a tour, call 586-222-1913 or visit Detroit Artists’ Test Lab on the web at https://www.detroittestlab.com/
or via Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.