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The Origin Story

Greetings! Carla here, I’m the founder of Art Office. I’m a social person––I get energy, focus, and inspiration from being around other people. However, I work best alone. My creativity flows so much better when I can turn off the “interact-with-humans” part of my brain, and dive deep into my work. 

In order to make artwork, I need motivation; to get motivated, I need to be around people, but if I’m around people, I can’t get any work done!

I spent years searching for a career—or heck, any kind of outlet—that would allow the introvert and extrovert in me to live in harmony. I found two existing models that loosely answered my dilemma: Co-working spaces—which are usually expensive and you’re not allowed to spill paint on the floor, and Grad school—which costs money, demands your full attention, and doesn’t last forever.

Neither of those options was going to work for me, so I tried the next best things I could think of. First, I rented my own personal art studio, but—being alone—I had no motivation. I spent countless evenings at Drink & Draws, but they always turned social for me. I thought urban sketching might do the trick, but anxiety killed that idea pretty fast.

It seemed like nothing was going to work. But then I had a revelation…

Like many millennials, I’ve spent most of my adulthood watching The Office. I think of it as a kind of supplement to my anxiety-riddled, not-funny, and often isolated life. I crave the predictable, organized feeling of working a boring old desk job at a place like Dunder Mifflin. One day as I was watching Pam turn down Jan’s offer to enroll in a graphic design training program in New York for the hundredth time…

…I thought, What if I could create a hybrid workplace that combines the structure and accountability of an office, with the autonomy and atmosphere of an art studio!”

And the daydreaming began. Imagine, if you will, an office space, divided into individual art studio cubicles, with an adjoining conference room, kitchenette, break room, and reception/gallery area. Now outfit the kitchen with a coffee maker and some mugs, the break room with a watercooler and bulletin board, slap a timeclock on the wall and Homer Simpson doll on a filing cabinet– and you’ve got the blueprints for Art Office!

Of course, then Covid had to happen. All plans for an in-person Art Office had to be put on hold, but that was probably a good thing! Since its inception, we’ve had several test sessions, and then several more full-length sessions, and served over twenty-five artists.

The dream for a brick-and-mortar location is still alive, but the important thing is that the program is working. Artists are being motivated, inspired, and held accountable to produce work consistently.

The word “art” comes from a very old root word meaning, “to fit together,” and “office” comes from another old word that means, “doing work.” Here at Art Office, that’s our goal.

Make Art Work.