The Strand Studios
Where Community Gathers & Creativity Grows
The Strand Theater building at 12 Coryell Street, in Lambertville, NJ is a 40′ x 120′ brick building with 18′ ceilings. It opened as a theater in 1915, was gutted by fire many years later and currently serves as storage for Finkles Hardware; a 100 year-old supply house in Lambertville, NJ, that has been supplying residents, contractors, municipalities, institutions and maintenance persons since 1917 (a true, iconic asset to this little town).
I walked by the old theater many times in my 20’s and day-dreamed about the kind of lofted art space that could be built in there. We moved back to Lambertville almost 10 years ago and the dream lived on, but I never imagined that Finkles would sell it, and if they did – that I would have the opportunity to buy it. Surely, someone with deeper pockets would swoop it up and build condos. But sometimes the universe delivers.
My husband and I were building a shed in the back yard and I ran to Finkles for more nails. It was a hopping Saturday afternoon and the joint was jumping. Rachel Finkle walked me across the street to the warehouse and I proclaimed “I love this building, I have always loved this building! I think it would make the most amazing studio spaces.” Rachel said, “oh yeah, want to buy it?” YES!!!! IDO! We found the nails, exchanged a bit more info to be sure we were both serious, and I walked home very quickly. “Tom, I want to buy the Strand Theater!” “Wow, Ok, let’s figure it out”, he said.
I put together a proposal for Rachel, and together we figured it out. I’m currently working through permits and plans with the city of Lambertville, while the Finkles team redistributes 100 years worth of inventory. The renovations will take a chunk of time and money, and I hope we can have the doors open by mid 2020.
My vision is that the front 2/3rds of the building will be 7-10 studios for rent, preferably with a nice variety of mediums – painting, drawing, mixed media, jewelry, clay, digital, photography… The back 1/3 will be my studio and flex space for teaching, talks, shows, etc. I’ve worked in theses type of shared, semi-private, art spaces in the past and the energy they produce is pretty special. I envision that The Strand Studios will be a place of serious work, made up of personalities who believe that we are more than what we make, and that the real power of art is not always the end product. Sometimes it’s the process we follow, the insights we share, and the community we inspire.
The Strand Studios will be a lively space, filled with character and creativity where artists can work, grow, and sell. A place where students can immerse and learn, where collectors can discover and support. The Strand Studios will be an inspiring hub for our community, and I’m excited to see it all unfold and watch it thrive for the benefit of all who call this special place home.
If you are an artist interested in this type of community space, or a community member who wants to participate, or a benefactor interested in sponsoring one of the studios, or a corporate client who wants to bring your team in for a fiercely fun day of creative play, please reach out. We’re Looking forward to all of it. Kelly