ARLINGTON, Texas — While many are loving the freedom that comes with working from home during this pandemic, some need human interaction to be productive. A new Arlington business offers artists and creatives of all kinds a space to create and collaborate in a communal setting.
Providing a place where painters, sculptors, photographers, musicians and like-minded creatives can thrive has been a vision for owner Mark Joeckel long before 2020. Joeckel is the former general manager of Arlington Music Hall. He knows firsthand how tough this pandemic has been for artists. Earlier this year he was forced to cancel a season of shows due to COVID-19.
Joeckel doesn’t consider himself an artist in the traditional sense. He doesn’t paint, draw, or sing, but he does have the gift of bringing people together. That gift was the driving force behind Create Arlington.
“We welcome entrepreneurs and startups,” said Joeckel. “Coworking can help you access all the resources to support your vision — be productive, meet with clients, and get ready for the next level.”
One artist who’s found a home at Create Arlington’s shared studio space is 15-year-old Anthony Caddell-Adams. He’s a freshman at Arlington High School and looks forward to working in the studio. After a day at school, followed by swim practice, you can find him painting, drawing or chatting with some of his fellow artists. For an inquisitive teenager eager to learn the tricks of the trade, a place where he can comfortably ask questions, and get his answers, is a treasure trove.
“I’ve been drawing since I was like 5, and then I got the art award in sixth grade, and then last year too in eighth grade,” said Caddell-Adams. “I always get to my teachers and I ask them for help. Sometimes I think I ask too many questions, because I have questions, I guess.”
This unique location in the heart of downtown Arlington offers members 3,000 square feet of space. Artists like Caddell-Adams have the option of renting a dedicated space or roaming using whatever space is available. He’s a roamer and says as long as he has a quiet place to work, he’s happy.
“It’s harder to work at home,” said Caddell-Adams. “That’s like a place to be lazy, kind of. Here, you’re coming to work. So, I’m coming to get art done, but to have fun at the same time.”
Caddell-Adams doesn’t have a job, and he wouldn't be able to pay the monthly full-time student open-desk rate of $39 without help from his parents. He says the Create Arlington membership is one of the best gifts his parents have ever given him. Not only is it a place where he can focus and create, he’s also gaining knowledge and making friends with his fellow artists like Keisha L. Smith.
“She's really good. She's taught me a couple things. Because I'm still really young, I can learn a whole lot,” said Caddell-Adams. “She's taught me some good tips and tricks. And then I've had really good conversations with other people like Sam Watson.”
A beautifully talented artist herself, Smith pays $189 a month to rent a dedicated desk and easel workspace. She specializes in painting realistic portraits, vintage cars, and cityscapes, just to name a few. Create Arlington also doubles as an art gallery for her collection of vintage court motels and signs. She's waited a long time for a space like this in Arlington. As a member of Arlington Visual Arts, she’s tried getting some of her artist friends to rent a space as well.
“It might seem like you can't afford to do it, but I'm telling people you can't afford not to be here. This space offers so much exposure, so much opportunity, so much foot-in-the-door stuff that you wouldn't believe that once you get here.
Joeckel say the teacher-student relationship between Smith and Caddell-Adams is like a dream come true. To know a young artist is learning techniques from a seasoned entrepreneur is like seeing his vision come to fruition.
“If we could raise up 20 Anthonys over the next five years or so - of young artists who really can take it to the next level, because we really want to help people make a full-time career out of what they're creating,” said Joeckel. “If we can keep developing young artists as well as our existing artists in the community, we're going to grow a very robust creative community for the next couple of generations.
Joeckel welcomes everyone to the space even if they don’t consider themselves artists. Hey says the space is the perfect place to work or study if home isn’t a productive place for you.
“My dream is to help local creatives thrive and make money creating their art, whatever that might be” he said.
Caddell-Adams has dreams of someday studying culinary arts with the goal of expanding his talents, and he says Create Arlington is the perfect place to grow. He recently started posting some of his favorite art pieces on Instagram, to check out his work and follow his journey, visit him @ABCAZART.
Keisha L. Smith’s art can be found at, www.keishaleighsmithfineart.com she’s always accepting commissioned work.
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