As it enters its third year of business, community art studio The Basement is looking forward to a brighter-and more colorful-future.

The Basement, located in the Old City, got its beginnings in June 2015 when co-owner Jennifer MacIsaac moved to Knoxville from Portland, Oregon. Inspired by the open art studios she and her children had visited during their time in Portland, MacIsaac paired with long-time friend and owner of Lox Salon Brynn Gonzalez to open one of their own.

“I saw lots of open art studios for all ages (in Portland),” Gonzalez said,” and I knew that (was) what downtown Knoxville was missing.”

The studio keeps a stock of art supplies, which include traditional supplies like paper and paint, craft supplies like googly eyes, and non-traditional supplies such as recycled items and found objects, for visitors to use at whim during open studio hours. The studio is open to all ages on Saturdays from 1 to 3 p.m. during the summer. In the fall, open studio hours will expand to include weekdays from 4 to 6 p.m. as well.

Studio admission cost ten dollars per person in the past, but in an effort to broaden its community reach and to increase accessibility, The Basement now accepts monetary donations of any size as payment for admission.

Patrons are also encouraged to donate art supplies in order to keep the studio well-stocked.

“Expect to see a hodgepodge of art and crafts,” Gonzalez said. “We accept donations of every kind, so we are filled with materials to help make creating art so much fun.” 

In addition to providing supplies and a space for creating, The Basement also hosts summer camps, classes and workshops led by local artists for both children and adults.

“I love that we cater to everyone’s age and needs,” Gonzalez said. “Whether you are looking for a class to learn art for yourself or your kids, a place to bring the whole family and create together or a girls’ night out, we have classes and activities for everyone.”

MacIsaac emphasized that with classes ranging from “messy art” for infants and toddlers to art journaling and creative self-care for adults, The Basement truly seeks to serve everyone.

“We value creative play and art exploration for all ages,” MacIsaac said.

Gonzalez explained that while the studio has concentrated on creating opportunities for school-aged children, it is looking forward to expanding its evening and weekend classes for adults in the near future.

“We offer rates well within a student budget,” she added.

The Basement’s fall schedule, available on its website and Facebook page, has yet to be updated. In the meantime, The Basement will offer a final modern calligraphy class led by local hand-letterer Cindy Hughes, owner of Urban Farm Girl Designs, on Friday, August 10, from 6:30 to 8:30 pm. Tickets cost $60 and can be purchased via The Basement’s store on Etsy.

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