Artist Couple Returns to Columbus to Open Shared Printed Arts Studio
Columbus artists Elisa and Shawn Smith are co-founders of the Columbus Printed Arts Center, an organization and studio dedicated to providing affordable photography and printmaking equipment, and a community space to artists.
The couple has worked in various arts spaces, and has previously taught fine arts at the college level; the center is the result of seeing artists struggle to afford costly equipment and software critical to their work after graduating.
“Shawn and I just personally want to give people opportunities that we enjoyed when we were in school, and when we weren’t in school,” says Elisa Smith.
The Columbus Printed Arts Center opened Dec. 1, but the couple have been in discussion to rent the property for nearly two years. The center’s location is at a 136-year-old fire engine warehouse now deemed “The Fort.” The space currently hosts Ghost River Furniture, Columbus Navigator, Aiden & Grace Specialty Rentals, and other creative businesses.
The center’s printing studio includes equipment and tools needed for various printmaking processes, including relief, screen printing, dye-sublimation, and photolithography. For digital photographers, the studio is equipped with a professional editing station, Adobe Creative Suite, inkjet printers, and a high quality flatbed scanner.
Artists are granted access to the studio with a number of membership options, and an hourly fee to use equipment. The membership fee also includes various discounts on workshops, and special access to the center’s events and exhibitions.
The center will also provide printing services for photos, prints, or other projects, or instruction for people interested in learning.
The couple would like the center to also be a space for artists and creatives to build a community with one another. Elisa Smith says the couple is excited to be able to contribute to the South Side.
“It’s sort of like an empty shelf for all that stuff to happen,” says Elisa Smith. “We felt like we could help make an anchor down on this end. And I know that the building owner is really invested in growing this community, providing some more jobs and more resources.”
Though they are originally from Columbus, the couple lived in Philadelphia for several years before returning to Columbus to open the center. Elisa Smith says the center has made them excited to be able to do what they love, where they’re from.
“The reasons we left, because we didn’t think we could find jobs here or make artwork here, just aren’t true anymore,” says Elisa Smith. “There’s a lot of interesting stuff going on here now that wasn’t when we were growing up.”
On Friday, Feb. 15, Columbus Printed Arts Center will host a Valentine’s Day night workshop. Find more information on the center’s website.