Artists share joy over Westobou transforming Annex into studio space

Published: Dec. 15, 2021 at 9:01 PM EST
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AUGUSTA, Ga. (WRDW/WAGT) - It’s been in downtown Augusta for more than 200 years, and now it’s getting some new guests. At the Old Academy of Richmond County over on Telfair Street, Westobou is now using the Annex Studios for a couple of local artists. We took a look inside to see what’s in store.

Aort Reed is from Augusta and has been drawing since he was little.

“It is a therapy, but at the same time, it’s more so purposeful. A sense of communication like a diary, pages to a diary, but not a diary or journal just really expressing what needs to come out instead of suppressing,” said the local artist.

For Reed, his work has a lot of meaning behind it.

“It’s kind of cryptic and perplex, so there are so many things going on in the work that to different individuals they kind of gain something different. It speaks a little different to each person and I kind of like that idea,” he said.

Westobou is a nonprofit that helps provide artists with opportunities to create. And just recently transformed the Annex into studio space.

“I’ve worked in a garage. I’ve worked in a shed. I’ve worked in a spare bedroom, just any space I can find. It’s always important to have that space and my space here at the Westobou Annex came out of a need as I transitioned into places,” said Chase Lanier, a local artist.

Executive Director of Westobou Kristi Sykes says although there are currently only two studios inside their goal is to one day expand.

“We hope that we can have 10,15,20 studios maybe more in the future as well as expand our visual art exhibition space. We also have a residency program and we hope to expand our residencies as well,” said Sykes.

Lanier says having the space to create and work around another artist is an experience unlike any other.

“There are not really many spaces like that in Augusta unless people have carved them out on their own and so being able to have that collaborative environment has been nice,” said Lanier.

There is studio space available for you to rent next month. And if you want to support these local artists and the studios you can take part in the “You Name It” campaign where you can help pay for supplies. For more information visit their website at westobou.org.

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