South Avenue Arts, a new art studio & gallery space located opposite Home Depot in Garwood, brings an artisan spirit to its utilitarian surroundings, creating a unique new facility for making, learning and selling art.  Since opening its doors in September, the studio has already completed several classes, workshops, and private events and is currently enrolling for an expanded winter session. Gift certificates in any denomination are available for use towards classes, studio rentals or in the gallery.

Housed in the former Garwood VFW post, the 3,000 sq. ft. studio incorporates many of the hall’s original fixtures, including a 14-foot wood and stained glass bar that is the focal point of the entryway.  Owner Sharon Reed repurposed vintage display cabinets, seating and light fixtures to complete the loft-like ambiance. The resulting space is now more “Etsy” than “enlisted.”

A large, naturally lit classroom is at the heart of the studio and recently housed the first series of classes. Winter session begins Jan. 3 with two additional instructors, including a new teen Anime and Manga class taught by Nick Mockoviak.  Adult landscape classes taught by Mark Saenger and four painting & drawing classes for elementary, middle & senior high students round out the 10-week schedule.  For a complete course list, please visit southavenuearts.com.

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The idea for a local, shared arts space was a longtime dream of Ms. Reed, a Westfield resident who is an artist herself.   “The act of creating is often a very lonely one,” said Ms. Reed.  “I envisioned this as a communal space for artists, teachers, and students to work together, exchanging camaraderie and creative energy.”  Shared and semi-private studio space are available for rent by the day or month, with easels, lockers, drying racks and clean up space provided. 

The studio recently opened its own gallery, selling artwork, greeting cards, jewelry and gifts by local artists.  Classroom space is available for rental for private workshops or scout groups.  The entire studio is available for rental on a limited basis for meetings, book signings, photo shoots or social events.  

South Avenue Arts, located at 221 South Avenue in Garwood, is open Monday through Friday from 12-5 pm and Saturdays from 9:30 am – noon.  For additional information about classes or rentals, please contact (908) 654-ARTS (2787) or sreed@southavenuearts.com.