RICHMOND, Va. -- At the corner of West Clay and MacTavish in Richmond, behind the bricks and mortar in Scott’s Addition, Ashley Hawkins is inviting Richmonders to express themselves.
Ashley’s vision is taking shape in black and white and all of the colors in between.
"You almost have to come here to feel it," Ashley said. "We’re hoping to spread the gospel of print making and photography to the community of Central Virginia."
Hawkins’ is the Executive Director of Studio Two Three.
"So we provide artists with 24/7 access to studios and print making equipment and photography," Ashley said. "This was always the dream."
S23 is far from an exclusive, expensive art oasis.
Ashley and three friends opened in 2009 following graduate school.
Donor-supported Studio Two Three offers low-cost gooey, hands-on tutorials.
"There is good juju in this building. When you walk in you can tell the people are happy, they are busy and they are productive," Ashley said.
Students like Celina Williams learn everything from printing t-shirts to banners.
A librarian by trade, Celina said Ashley’s studio broadens horizons.
"Incredibly happy. It was a lot of fun," Celina said. "Just got to work on things that I otherwise wouldn’t have been able to work on -- ever."
VCU intern Darcy Myers called the community space welcoming for budding artists.
"It’s really easy to find a working balance between having a really good time and getting stuff done. Everyone is motivational," she said.
Ashley’s team is taking art on the road with the new mobile S23 To Go. A converted van made to look like an ice cream truck. Inside you will find all of the tools to make prints.
"We want all kids to be able to have the ability and exposure to print making and photography free of charge," Ashley said.
So whether it’s on four wheels, or in the massive studio, Ashley’s dream come true is making a bold imprint one of Richmond’s fastest growing areas.
"It’s an exciting time to be in Scott’s Addition and we’re so happy to be a part of this neighborhood," Ashley said. "This space was the right space for us."
Studio Two Three offers classes weekly.
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