Lowertown, long an artist enclave in the heart of downtown St. Paul, will soon boast a new creative space.
Creators Space, a new creativity center and shared workspace for artists, is slated to open later this month in what was once an indoor parking garage on 7th Street E. near Wacouta Street. The space will officially launch during the St. Paul Art Crawl, which runs April 27-29.
Creators Space — which takes up about 34,000 square feet on the street level and basement of the building — will offer a range of art classes and workshops such as painting and pottery as well as lessons on entrepreneurship. There also will be artist studio space, including a music studio, with tools that members can use as well as galleries and common space where artists can sell their creations.
Interested participants can purchase monthly memberships for access to studios and workshops or register for individual classes.
“We hope that it is not just a space for the established artists,” said Melissa Dessart, who cofounded the space with her husband, Kevin. “We hope that it is also for beginners and for people who haven’t really tapped into their creative spirit yet. ... I think everybody has the ability to tap into their creative side and create something.”
Creators Space will also offer a coffeehouse and healing arts services — such as yoga, a salt cave and acupuncture — in the lower level in an area called “the sanctuary.”
Classes are scheduled to start in late April. Memberships will become available in May.
Josh Intemann, president of nonprofit St. Paul Art Collective, said Creators Space is a welcome addition to Lowertown and the greater art community. With the reopening of the Union Depot transit station and construction of CHS Field, the downtown neighborhood has experienced a rush of development in recent years with several older buildings being repurposed for high-end apartments and restaurants.
As more investment has poured into Lowertown, artist studio spaces have become more expensive and harder to come by, Intemann said.
“The artists that we talk to are excited about this because it’s a space that doesn’t exist in the community,” he said. “It can really bring everyone together in sharing and creating.”
Melissa Dessart first had the idea to open Creators Space in 2016, when she was in a coffee shop reviewing her personal journal.
“ ‘God, I wish I can create space in my head to think.’ Saying those words just sparked it,” she said.
The Dessarts purchased the first and lower level of the building last December. According to the state electronic certificate of real estate value, the space was bought for $850,000. The Heritage House apartments take up the second, third and fourth levels of the more than century-old building.
The Dessarts are working with partners Andrea Gerrard Dow and Lana Gendlin Brooks to establish Creators Space.