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S23 Hosts Creative Mornings with Ashley Hawkins as Speaker

On the morning of Friday, Nov. 17, we hosted Creative Mornings RVA, a monthly event attended by Richmonders who gather for creative inspiration, in our new Other Side space. More than 200 attended (tickets, which are free, were snatched up in an hour!) and were treated to a heartfelt talk by featured speaker Ashley Hawkins, our executive director.

With the month's theme of "Death" in mind, Ashley began with a story about her beloved aunt who sparked her love of fun, style and creativity and who died way too young. Her spirit has lived on in all of Ashley's pursuits including what she calls her "ultimate creative expression," Studio Two Three. Ashley talked about the importance of choosing the creative life and her love of passing it on to her two children, Max and Zoey.

You can view Ashley's inspiring Creative Mornings talk and see how cool our Other Side is by clicking here. Videography credits to Taylor Quinn, Filmspire: filmspirevideo.com

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Altria CreateAthon Team Offers New Marketing Ideas

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When you're a small nonprofit, it can be challenging to access help from marketing professionals. So, when Altria's brand management group called for applications a few months ago for their annual CreateAthon, we quickly applied. A CreateAthon is a 24-hour pro bono marketing marathon during which professionals and/or students develop marketing strategies and creative materials that can help nonprofit organizations meet specific marketing objectives and increase their overall marketing capacity.

Studio Two Three was one of several Richmond non-profits selected to be the focus of Altria's CreateAthon teams, and today they shared recommendations and ideas with us following their 24-hour creative marathon. They focused on ways to increase awareness of our classes and events through our website, printed materials, social media and email as well. 

We met with our CreateAthon team, headed by Rachel Nichols, at Altria and here at the studio, and on Nov. 8 we attended the reveal of what they came up with for us to consider in their 24-hour work session. They walked us through their strategies and recommendations for both print and digital marketing media, answering questions and explaining their thoughts.

"We loved so many of their ideas and have already implemented quite a few," says Ashley Hawkins, Studio Two Three executive director. "They helped us with our tag line, web site organization, class promotion ideas, event possibilities and more, all designed to raise community awareness about Studio Two Three."

Many thanks to our Altria team, a great group who took an enthusiastic interest in what we do and worked hard to come up with a plan for us.

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EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR ASHLEY HAWKINS NAMED TO RICHMOND 300 ADVISORY COUNCIL

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Executive Director Ashley Hawkins named to Richmond 300 Advisory Council. Richmond 300: A Guide for Growth, is the update to the citywide Master Plan.

The city received over 150 applications for the 15-member group, which was then expanded to 21 members. The fact that so many people applied to serve on the Council is very exciting as it shows that the Richmond community is ready and willing to be part of this important process. "It was not easy to select the group out of a pool of over 150 well-qualified applicants, but we have assembled a group of 21 Richmonders who come from diverse backgrounds and bring knowledge in various areas of expertise."

The Advisory Council members are: Rodney Poole (Chair), Max Hepp-Buchanan (Vice-Chair), Burt Pinnock (Vice-Chair), Jonathan Bibbs, Cyane Crump, LaToya Gray, Bernard Harkless, Ashley Hawkins, Elyana Javaheri, Joyce Knight, Preston Lloyd, Louise Lockett, Monica Lozano, Jer-Mykeal McCoy, Jennifer Mullen, Kendra Norrell, Cailtlin O’Dwyer, Damian Pitt, Ted Ukrop, Meredith Weiss, and Olivya Wilson.

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Executive Director Ashley Hawkins honored as VCU 10 under 10

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VCU honors Ashley Hawkins as one of its top 10 graduates of the last decade Richmond, Virginia (Nov. 17, 2017) – Ashley Hawkins, Executive Director of Studio Two Three, Richmond, Virginia’s only public printmaking studio, has been named by her alma mater, Virginia Commonwealth University, as one of the university’s top 10 graduates of the last decade.

VCU Alumni’s 10 Under 10 awards celebrate alumni who earned their first VCU degree within the past 10 years and who have enjoyed remarkable professional success, made important contributions to their community and/or loyally supported the university. Hawkins was on the brink of leaving the VCU School of the Arts her junior year, when she started to etch, screen print and create lithographs. Her newfound passion reinvigorated her studies. “I was a fearful painter and almost quit VCUarts but then found printmaking and immediately fell in love,” Hawkins says. “The process was freeing. I could make 10 or 1,000 prints. I could change the plate or the screen, I could draw on my prints, collage — I was no longer afraid of ‘messing up.’” She knew that starting a community print shop was her calling and she did, at Richmond’s Plant Zero, after college.

With eyes on establishing a larger collaborative space, in 2010 she opened Studio Two Three, Richmond’s only printmaking studio that’s open to the public. At the same time, she returned to VCU to earn a master’s in public administration with a concentration in nonprofit management. “I am an artist and Studio Two Three is my life’s art project,” Hawkins says. “I am fascinated by the constant excitement and challenge of creating and managing a growing organization and remaining responsive to our community needs.” Hawkins says it’s a dream responding to those community needs, which include creating a space that supports professional artists with tools to take their career to the next step.

The studio offers classes, workshops and a retail store, among other features. In 2017, Hawkins launched the Art of Activism series. The first session gave more than 200 participants the ability to make protest posters and ephemera before the women’s march in Washington, D.C. “We will continue to offer opportunities to amplify our voices in our community, in a time when art has never been more important,” Hawkins says. Hawkins says earning a B.F.A. at VCU taught her more than lessons in art; she walked away with real-world problem-solving skills. 

More info: HERE

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Curriculum Lab Opens in The Other Side

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Curriculum Lab Opens in The Other Side

Curriculum Lab, an exhibit inspired by discarded materials from VCU’s Cabell Library, is open in our new space, The Other Side, and will be up through Nov. 19. There is a free Activity Day on Saturday, Nov. 4, 3-6pm and opening receoption 7-9pm. 

Organizer Jonathan Lee gave 20 artists each library book checkout card pocket fronts to draw on, cover, cut, manipulate, combine, or add to in any way they choose. The rules: the artwork could be any depth but had to remain 3.5x3" and should be inspired by the text on each card. Proceeds from the sale of the artwork will support the Richmond Performing Arts Alliance’s ELLA program, which brings arts-integrated literacy into lower income Pre-K classrooms across the greater Richmond area. There are several more hands-on/minds-on activities scheduled at Studio Two Three in conjunction with the exhibit; read more here and come participate!

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Studio Two Three Honored with Inspiration Award

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From an original pool of over 350 nominees, the Virginia Commission for the Arts, the state arts agency, has selected Studio Two Three to receive one of its prestigious “50 for 50 Arts Inspiration Awards” in the category of Emerging Artists and Organizations! Studio Two Three Executive Director Ashley Hawkins and Assistant Director Hillary Zell attended a special reception today at the Executive Mansion with Governor Terry McAuliffe and First Lady Dorothy McAuliffe.

The “50 for 50 Arts Inspiration Awards” were conceived and designed by the Commission as a 50th anniversary tribute to 50 examples of programs, individuals, and organizations critical to the arts in Virginia. The designated “Arts Inspirations” may have played a critical role in the last 50 years, serve as today’s leaders and exemplars, or may be tomorrow’s visionaries, leading the way to a culturally vibrant future. The Commission was established by law in 1968 to promote awareness of and access to the arts across the state and to support a broad range of artists, arts organizations, and arts educators. 

Following a statewide call for nominations, nominees for the awards in all categories were accepted for two months this spring. A panel comprised of former commissioners and arts leaders reviewed the nominations this past summer and recommended a slate to the full Board which adopted the final roster this fall. To ensure impartiality, no former commissioners and no state-elected officials were selected for the roster.

“We are indeed fortunate in Virginia to have an abundant and diverse roster of outstanding artists and organizations and their supporters spanning disciplines and decades,” said Margaret Vanderhye, the Commission’s executive director. “The 50 selected winners are representative of the best, but this list is far from definitive. Every day in communities across the Commonwealth, thousands of people benefit from the creative energies and pursuit of excellence that characterize Virginia artists and arts organizations.”

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Annual Auction 2017: It Happened and It Was Factory Fabulous!

 
 

Friends,

What can we say? The Factory: A Happening at Studio Two Three was a crazy success thanks to your enthusiastic participation! You bought tickets, dressed up, showed up, bid up and generally showed us your love for what we do here. With your help, we raised more than double last year's amount ... these funds will help us complete construction of our new space, sponsor outreach artmaking experiences and keep the cost of access to the studio reasonable for creatives in our community.

Shout out to Carly Romeo, Studio Two Three member, who took all the great pictures at the party. You can see more of Carly's work at http://carlyromeo.com/

Stay tuned for an invite to our tomato soup and grilled cheese follow up shindig. 

With profound gratitude,

Ashley Hawkins, Executive Director

p.s. This is just a taste of the great pics from the event... Click here to check out Carly's full collection in our Flickr account!

 

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S23 To-Go in the News

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S23 To-Go in the News

On Saturday, April 22, we rolled to RVA Earth Day in our brand new S23 To-Go mobile art studio. It was a race to the finish to get the truck ready for its first engagement and everything ran smoothly thanks to project manager Jake Urbanski and the whole Studio Two Three community of staff and interns. 

Also thanks to the press for covering our S23 To-Go launch. Read the stories here:

Style Weekly, Richmond BizSense

Richmond Times-Dispatch

Coming up on Friday, April 28 on WTVR Ch. 6 at 11pm is a special story by reporter Greg McQuade.

 

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Ashley Hawkins Honored as a 2017 Woman in the Arts

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Ashley Hawkins Honored as a 2017 Woman in the Arts

Congratulations to Studio Two Three founder and executive director Ashley Hawkins on being selected one of Richmond's 2017 Women in the Arts by Style Weekly! She was honored on March 15 at a reception and awards ceremony at Dogtown Dance Theater.  "I'm so delighted to be chosen along with the other accomplished and creative women this year," says Ashley.  "It was fun to spend an inspiring evening with other Richmonders who are enthusiastic about the arts in our city."

Ashley is the co-founder (2009) and Executive Director of Studio Two Three (S23), Richmond's workspace for art. S23 provides artists the tools, space, and resources to build successful careers. Ashley views S23 as her ultimate creative expression; a balance of her passions for organization building, dreaming big, and art making. Ashley holds a BFA in Painting and Printmaking and a Master's of Public Administration with a concentration in Nonprofit Management from Virginia Commonwealth University. 

Ashley lives in Richmond, Virginia with her partner, 3-year-old son Max, newborn baby Zoey, and a cat named Olive. She makes prints, cardboard sculptures for Max, and a line of housewares with her fiancee under the guise of Hers (& His) Press. 

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Virginia This Morning Takes Sneak Peek at S23 To-Go

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Virginia This Morning Takes Sneak Peek at S23 To-Go

On March 9, Ashley Hawkins, Studio Two Three's executive director, invited WTVR Ch. 6's Jessica Noll of Virginia This Morning aboard our retrofitted ice cream truck that will soon be a mobile print and photo studio. Ashley gave Jessica the details on how the truck will be used to take art-making on the road when it gets rolling in April. Watch the news clip here to learn more!

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