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Milwaukee's Daily Magazine for Saturday, Sept. 20, 2014

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In Arts & Entertainment

BYO Studio owners Kerry and Ken Yandell.

In Arts & Entertainment

"It's a studio, it's bring your own," Kerry says. "You bring it, you design it."

New Bay View studio says Bring Your Own art


Milwaukee's art scene took some hard hits this past year with the loss of Paper Boat Gallery, Spackle Gallery and recently, The Armoury Gallery. A recession can be devastating to artists trying to make a living and new gallery owners Kerry and Ken Yandell understand that.

Their latest venture, BYO Studio, is an interesting and inviting gallery and work environment at 2246 S. Kinnickinnic Ave. that they've completely gutted and rehabbed from its former days as a liquor store, and before that, Comique, one of Milwaukee's first moving-pictures theater that opened more than a century ago.

It's an art space, but Ken and Kerry don't use the word "artist," specifically; they prefer to describe their clients and colleagues as "creatives." The idea is that the studio is available for anyone -- painter, dancer, actor, sculptor -- looking for an inspiring and affordable space to create, practice and share his or her craft.

Kerry is an architectural designer and teaches a building design course at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee's school of architecture and urban planning. She says the motivation for BYO Studio came when she noticed several of her fellow architects looking for work during an economic downturn.

"It made me think about other creatives who are looking to teach classes and use that as a means for generating revenue," she says. Her business model invites instructors from a vast range of artistic media -- everything from yoga to figure drawing -- to rent the space on an hourly basis and host classes for up to 20 students.

The classes, Kerry says, operate completely autonomously between teacher and students (teachers set their won rates), as she and Ken act only as facilitators maintaining daily schedules.

"It's a studio, it's bring your own," she says. "You bring it, you design it. Everything was designed to be flexible and movable, so all the art walls can be pushed out of the way or reconfigured to create smaller or larger spaces."

It works well for the group of artists who want to rent it together to create an environment for feedback and critique, as well as the independent designer looking to hone his skills without having to spend the kind of money on a regularly rented studio.

The biggest priority, the Yandells say, was to make it an accessible option for Milwaukee artists looking to work and show art in a professional venue.

BYO Studio officially opens Friday, June 5 but its first art opening, "Reflections on Recession," is scheduled for summer Gallery Night July 24 and 25. The Yandells are accepting submissions through July 13.

"We are open to any media -- poetry, graphic arts, photography, painting," says Ken. "We want people's interpretations and reflections on what's going on around them. We're trying to get a sense of what people are experiencing right now because everyone's got a their own story."

Another interesting aspect to BYO Studio is how family-friendly it is. As parents, Kerry and Ken understand the importance of nurturing a child's creative side and plan to host kids' birthday pARTies (the focus is on the art). The parent chooses an activity -- origami, painting, sculpture, tie dye, etc. -- and the kids spend the afternoon creating things to take home with them. Neighbor Babe's Ice Cream is working on a series of ice cream flights for the parties.


Talkbacks

timdemeter | June 3, 2009 at 3:21 p.m. (report)

A great space run by great people! A gallery night MUST surrounded by one of the best corners in the city.

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1goodmojo | June 3, 2009 at 1:51 p.m. (report)

BYO is accepting a wide variety of artistic expression for its upcoming show, "Reflections on Recession". Paintings, photography, poetry, collage. Also, turners are welcome, as are all artists, to contact BYOstudio to discuss possible exhibits, one-night shows, consignment arrangements, and events. Go to info@byostudio.com

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FunkyBrewster | June 3, 2009 at 10:29 a.m. (report)

I wish I could own an art gallery with my mom! Cute!

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SYK | June 2, 2009 at 9:11 p.m. (report)

I love the natural brick walls and the feel of the place. It really makes one want to go CREATE something! It has a feeling of history to it, like the Left Bank in Paris. Charming.

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MrsKC | June 2, 2009 at 1:45 p.m. (report)

What an awesome idea! Can't wait to check it out.

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