I struggled with what to call the place in both name and description. I had so many ideas for what I wanted to see and do that it was hard to wrap them all into a simple, straightforward definition. At heart, I wanted something that summed up both individuality and community. In the current climate, those things don’t seem to be able to be married together. The individuals create the community, and the community supports the individual. Each person brings value to the community, and the community comes together to support them. With that plan began the work to create a space that brings people together. Astoria is a creative community venue because it’s a space to be. When I was creating a map for all the things I could see in this space, it covered so many different options. I want a space for the Arts Council to be able to host classes, poetry, or music. I could envision people coming in for yoga, meditation, Zumba, and so many other options. There are needs for small business owners that need a space for a few hours a month and don’t want to meet clients at home or have the capacity to rent an entire building. We already have plans to bring a unique music scene into the space. I have plans to support the local community through get-togethers like game nights, local business pop-ups, a blessing box, and working with local organizations to try to bring the individuals together to create a community. At its heart, this space is a place for people to find what they need to be a supportive community member and have a community that supports them.
This project started in 2018. I was seeking a community and a space to gather. When 214 W 2nd came up for sale, I just got excited. I wanted this place. It was gutted and rough, but as they say, “it had good bones.” The east brick wall sold me. I loved the timber built into the brick and how there were still old square nails stuck in random places. I had some extensive and lofty plans for the business, but sometimes life kicks you around a bit, and you have just to let life happen, accept the changes, and move forward. With those unexpected life happenings, it’s taken some time to pull everything together, get it all fixed up and ready to go. This space is the first root of my own I’ve ever really put down in a place, and I wanted to go about it with mindfulness of things that are important to me. We aimed to source as much of our materials through recycling and reconditioning. Many details in the space look used and worn because the materials are recycled from various sources. The pieces have all come together to create the space that we can be proud of to open and share with our community. Through renovating this space, Justin and I have learned so much. We gained a lot of skills through the power of youtube and connecting with tradespeople who shared their knowledge when needed. Our relationship grew as we learned to build and do renovation projects together. Some things came easy, and some just had to be fought with. This building and this business are a labor of love, and I can’t express how much I appreciate the help and support we have received to create this. I hope when we are fully operational, we can host a massive thank you dinner for everyone who has come together on this project.
Today we cut the graphics for the front window and got the back patio lights wired in!