An outdoor mall bustling with business and brand names just got a little more creative. The South Suburban Artist Collective — or SoSu for short — is a group of seven ambitious creators opened their workshop in the Streets of South Glenn in early August.
The self-proclaimed SoSu sisters are a group of friends that started out creating in one another’s homes. Their dream was to have a business that housed a gallery, studio space, and workshop where they could teach classes. It’s two years later, and now the public can reap the benefits of the Collective’s mission to bring art, and ultimately soul, to South Denver.
Elementary art school teacher Julie Vincelette is adamant about the fact that anyone can create. She hopes the workshop will showcase that to the community.
“So many people come in here and tell us that they don’t have a creative bone in their body. I don’t believe that,” Julie says.
Full length windows at the front of the store provide a clear view of outside traffic. Shoppers toting multiple bags peer into the workshop, curious, and often walk inside. They have shopping on the brain, and the artists want to cater to this need while maintaining the space as a creative retreat.
“You can’t help but be pulled into the retail,” sculptor Stephanie Wilson Thomas says. “We need to have organized stuff for sale and have regular hours.”
As of now, the workshop is open Thursday and Saturday afternoons. They admitted there are a lot of details that need to be figured out, but that’s a key part of the creative process. Not being afraid to get messy and make mistakes is part of the philosophy that has kept this collective of artists dreaming.
As Julie says, “Art is not so much about the product, but about the process.”
The workshop is a picture of calming chaos. White walls encase an ambiance of softly playing music, live plants, and essential oils. However, there’s also art projects and supplies scattered around the room. The ladies’ goals for the new shop involve maintaining a community space for others while also having a free, creative space for themselves.
For Thomas, the workshop helps her maintain the boundaries necessary to have the physical and mental space to create. “You don’t think about things like folding the laundry,” she says. “The space has given us a deeper level of loyalty to our work and the group.”
Mar Knight-Hall, an herbalist who specializes in skin care products, is excited to broaden her creative niche. “I’ve always been interested in pastel, watercolor, and other forms of art, but I just haven’t had the space. Now, I am really inspired to expand.”
The women believe the power of art can unleash freedom in people and connect them with their soul. Vincelette says, “Everyone can benefit from the creative process. It expands your thinking, your approach, and your empathy.”
As a part of the collective’s goal to make art accessible to the community, the women aim to have monthly teaching workshops and are open to hosting group events. Groups are free to bring food, drinks, games, and simply enjoy the creative space.
“Bring your group of friends, your bookclub, your co-op- whoever- and just hangout while making art,” Vincelette says.
This month's workshop is from 5:30- 8:30 p.m. Feb. 6 and features a decorating social where attendees can paint a ceramic heart for someone special. Those interested in the social or holding an event at the SoSu Studio can register by emailing email@example.com.