“Before we built the walls downstairs, everything was just sort of open,” Lamp said. “Jennie [Hopkins] and Kaitlyn [Neely] had their space sectioned off with tape. People would just cut through other people’s spaces and start talking and of course I love seeing people and so I would stop and start hanging out. That was difficult. But now that I have a door, it’s a little easier to close myself off and focus when I need to.”
While distraction remains an issue for any creative professional, it has somewhat become a form of collaborative inspiration for the artists.
“I think there are only a few of us who do art full time,” Hopkins said. “Most of us have other part-time or even full-time jobs, so it can be hard to find motivation and keep regular hours. But all the time I’m away from here, I’m always thinking about how I need to get in and do some work. The rent forces me to come as often as I can. And when I see other people are here working, it makes me want to get over here and be a part of it.”
Because each renter holds a key, they are free to come and go as they please.
“It’s easy to come here and work when I’m feeling inspired,” Lamp said. “But when I’m not, it’s really hard. I’ll come here sometimes and find other people working and I try and catch it, you know. When you see others at work, you just want to be a part of their creativity. It just feels so alive when people are here at work.”
“Absolutely,” Dennis agreed. “You make time for it as best you can. Sometimes I’ll be here every night for two or three months. Then life stuff gets busy and it starts to slip. You see your friends around town who have space here, and it’s great, but all that means is that neither one of you are working. It means no one is here. And you just want it to be filled. Not just for security reasons, but for everyone else’s sake almost.”
The closeness that these makers have with each other comes from not only sharing in the same profession, but most of them are close friends outside of the studio as well.
“We’re all kind of excited today,” Hopkins said. “Some of us get together to play cards and have dinner at Laura’s house on Sundays. And it’s beautiful out so that means we get to eat outside today!”
The group laughed among themselves, demonstrating the level of airy friendship that extends beyond these old walls. Each artist brings something unique to the space, sharing and growing from one another’s ingenuity. The artists not only find inspiration while here, but also, perhaps most importantly, during the hours spent with each other simply as friends.
Every wall, every room, is alive with an electric pulse of color and creativity. A building full of artists doing the work they love. In a place that was once used to care for the deceased, something great has blossomed; out of death has come boundless creative life. While there is a sleepy look to it from the outside, an endless world of art is humming within the Pyramid.