Studio Arts’ expanded facility set to open early next year

Courtesy: Studio Arts

When executive director Kari Palazzari envisions Studio Arts’ new hub at Diagonal Crossing, she sees studio spaces full of students, a bustling gallery and a place where people from different walks of life can come together in a space that “the entire community really feels is theirs.”

That vision is set to become a reality in early 2024, more than five years after the donation of land for the 12,500-square-foot building. The space will feature five teaching studios for beginner to intermediate classes in five different media: pottery, warm glass, woodworking, blacksmithing and printmaking. 

The organization’s goal is to be debt free by the time the facility opens.

So far, the nonprofit has raised $7.5 million, including the value of the land donation; $1.75 million from Boulder’s 2017 Community, Culture, Resilience and Safety tax; $1.5 million from the state’s Community Revitalization Grant program; $150,000 from Boulder County’s Worthy Cause tax and approximately $2.5 million from individuals and family foundations. The project has also received a $4 million construction loan — but there’s still a $1 million gap in funding. In order to be fully debt free, Studio Arts will still need to raise $5 million. The less debt, the more free and pay-what-can classes Studio Arts can offer, Palazzari says.

While Studio Arts’ current space in an old fire station on University Hill will remain open, the new location will not only triple the number of people the nonprofit can serve in a year, it will also be more accessible.

”One of the things in the new studio is that we’ll be able to accommodate folks with mobility issues and challenges way easier,” Palazzari says. “We do make accommodations in the fire station, but the building itself is just not accommodating.”

The project’s costs also take aim at an issue that extends beyond the art world: climate change. Palazzari says Studio Arts will save an estimated $30,000 annually with a 64.5 kWh solar system, 15 geothermal wells, ground source heat pumps, and energy recovery ventilation that exchanges heat from kiln rooms with air from colder parts of the building. These green measures also make the structure resilient to disruptions to the power grid.

“Climate change is real, and we need to do our part,” Palazzari says. “This was an opportunity to make decisions right from the beginning about the building’s energy systems and heating and cooling that would be more sustainable in the long run.”

The building’s framing and sheathing are already in place, and community members can take hard hat tours Oct. 6 and Nov. 10.    

“There’s not really any other facility like this in the area,” Palazzari says. “There’s only a couple [places] in the country that have these five art forms. So this is a real gem for Boulder, and for the local community.”

ON THE BILL: Chili Bowl Street Party, Noon-5 p.m. Sunday, Sept. 17, 1010 Aurora Ave., Boulder. Free. In addition to live music, chili and for-sale pottery, Chili Bowl attendees can expect a booth with details on the new space and a chance to talk with board members about the project.

Pottery Sale, 10 a.m.-5 p.m. Sept. 16 and 17, Take home a handmade piece of pottery made by students, staff and friends of Studio Arts. All proceeds support free and pay-what-you-can programs, as well as partnerships that provide studio access to marginalized artists.