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New “Blockfort” Art Studio & Gallery Coming Soon to Downtown

Walker Evans Walker Evans New “Blockfort” Art Studio & Gallery Coming Soon to DowntownPhoto by Walker Evans.
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Before the end of the year, an old auto parts store and warehouse will become the newest Downtown creative space. A group of local artists will soon inhabit the old NAPA Auto Parts Store at 162 N. Sixth St., primarily relocating from the soon-to-be-demolished TacocaT Cooperative in Grandview Heights.

“The majority of people at TacocaT are coming with us,” explained Blockfort co-owner Adam Brouillette, who is launching the new venture with his wife Meghan. “We’ll have gallery space, a secondary gallery space that doubles as a woodshop, 16 art studios and a screen printing business as well.”

Brouillette says that one of the biggest differences between Blockfort and TacocaT is that Blockfort will be run as a for-profit business, and that the owners will take a more active and responsible role in keeping the community involved and engaged in the building and its public activities.

“At TacocaT, each person took turns with monthly gallery exhibitions, and if people ended up not putting on a show, nothing would happen,” he stated. “At Blockfort, that will be our responsibility.”

The Brouillettes won’t be hard to find either. They plan to move into a small apartment space located in the upstairs portion of the building so they can keep an eye on things and stay engaged.

“Mom and dad will live upstairs so we’ll be able to watch over the space and make sure it’s secure,” said Brouillette. “At TactocaT, we’ve been hosting family dinners in a potluck format, but at Blockfort, Megan and I will cook for everyone to continue that tradition.”

Blockfort is located within The Discovery District area of Downtown Columbus, which has seen a lot of new attention in the past several years. Nearby apartments have opened at The Normandy building with more on the way at construction sites located at The Neilston building and the View on Grant. In the past several years, new businesses have opened nearby including The Grass Skirt, The Hills Market, Domino’s, Jimmy John’s, the Roosevelt Coffee House, Lomonico’s and Brioso Coffee. Additionally, Platform Brewing is planning to open a brewpub nearby toward the end of the year, work is slated to begin soon on turning the relocating Faith Mission Men’s Shelter into new apartments and retail, and in the long term, Columbus State is planning a nearby Culinary School building.

Work will begin this month on construction inside the 8,969 square foot Blockfort space with help from TRIAD Architects, Compton Construction and Chris Sherman. The studio spaces will be divided up, skylights installed and common areas cleaned up and repainted. Brouillette is hoping to have the space ready for tenants to relocate around the end of the month as they’re leaving TacocaT with a grand opening planned in December.

“I’m probably being unrealistic in my timing,” laughed Brouillette, pointing out his heavy involvement in the Independents’ Day festival that is coming up in September. “But I’d like to have a group show happening there around Christmas time.”

In addition to the gallery space, tenants at Blockfort will have access to a shared printer and conference room located with a new co-working space in basement, and use of an on-site van for transporting work to other art shows around the city. Studio pricing will start at $1.10 per square foot with all amenities included.

In the long-term, Brouillette said that they have an option to purchase the building, but would also love to eventually build their own building given the opportunity.

For more information visit www.blockfortcolumbus.com.

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