Nonprofit artist incubator opens in downtown Farmington, offering private studios and more

What’s happening: Skep Space celebrated its opening in downtown Farmington earlier this month, a nonprofit artist incubator that offers affordable studio space for local artists. And if there’s anybody that knows about the needs of local artists it’s Skep Space founders Lisa Alberts and Mary Lou Stropoli, two accomplished artists who live nearby. The artist incubator occupies an old house-turned-storefront and features private and community studio space, workshops, events, and more.

Skep Space is located at 33104 Grand River Ave. in downtown Farmington.What it is: Skep Space offers four Resident Artist Studios and a Community Room. If there was ever any wonder if downtown Farmington needed an artist incubator space, the four Resident Artist Studios are already rented out. A Member Artist program allows access to the Community Room, where a monthly fee offers access to the cooperative space.

About the space: The old house-turned-storefront isn’t expected to be around in a couple years, as it’s expected to be demolished in 18 months or so, making way for the eventual Maxfield Training Center development. It’s owned by the city and the Farmington DDA is leasing it to Skep Space, taking the opportunity to innovate in a space that doesn’t have a long-term future. Emboldened by their early success, Alberts and Stropoli are already thinking about finding a more permanent home.

Community events: Regular programming includes First Fridays, which invites the public to tour and enjoy the space, and a Weekly Writers Group, a writers workshop led by Becky Burns each Thursday. Future events planned include a regular meet-up for local art teachers to focus on their own artworks, and “Artists’ Way: A Spiritual Path to Higher Creativity” workshops.

Find information on upcoming events on the Skep Space website.

Mary Lou Stropoli, left, and Lisa Alberts.Why it’s important: “There's a synergy that happens when artists work in close proximity together. So they will benefit from that relationship, but also sometimes people have trouble finding a dedicated space to do their work. Especially if it's outside of a home, it can be pretty cumbersome on price; our prices are really reasonable. So it makes it accessible for people that maybe couldn't have access before,” says Mary Lou Stropoli. Stropoli is also a full-time art teacher at Brother Rice High School and serves on the Farmington DDA Public Art Committee. That’s her mural found on the side of Sunflour Bakehaus downtown.

“It's a benefit to the community because we will be generating fun projects on the outside that will be temporary installations. I think that we are going to be able to just give a nice energy to the space and I think anything creative enhances the downtown community.”

Skep Space is located at 33104 Grand River Ave. in downtown Farmington.

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MJ Galbraith is a writer and musician living in Detroit. Follow him on Twitter @mikegalbraith.