Artist Rebecca Baum found that she works best in a comfortable, inspiring space. So when she bought the art education business that became Pikes Peak Artist Collective, she created a place where artists can feel at home.
The studio on West Colorado Avenue is warmed by a double-sided fireplace. Large windows in the front open onto a view of Pikes Peak. A living room area with a couch and shelves filled with art books offers a place to relax.
Baum and a roster of instructors teach small, intimate art classes for children and adults. Pikes Peak Artist Collective also hosts workshops and provides studio space for artists.
Although the business name is new, the studio continues a 20-year tradition started by artist Rhonda Conn-Parent in her home.
“It was based around art education for children and teaching in a way that was really supportive of their creative growth,” Baum said. Conn-Parent sold the business four years ago to Marcie Anderson, a local art teacher.
The business, then called Studio 101, was housed in a small space on Colorado Avenue. Baum, who moved to Colorado Springs in March 2018, was working as assistant director of the Squash Blossom gallery when she met Anderson.
During a summer camp Anderson was running, she would bring the children to the gallery from time to time.
The friendship they developed led to Baum leaving the gallery in August 2018 to run Studio 101, and then to taking over the business as its new owner in February.
“My progression into ownership was natural and an inspiration to honor the history of the studio and keep what has been created as a viable part of the community,” Baum said.
She moved the studio a couple of blocks west on Colorado Avenue in May, when a larger space became available.
She has kept up the tradition of teaching art to children, from pre-kindergarten to high school, in small classes where students can get plenty of encouragement and personal attention and experience different media.
Children’s memberships are the mainstay of the business. Parents choose a day and time and register their children for weekly classes during the school year. Tuition runs $100 per month per child and includes materials.
Baum has added classes for adults in clay, watercolor and mixed media, as well as workshops taught by local artists. Both children and adults can try out a class for free.
Baum also provides space for local artists to work and collaborate, and hopes to grow the collective aspect of the studio, which is equipped with potter’s wheels in a ceramic area and a large community worktable.
Resident artists can join the collective, work during open studio hours and display their work in a gallery space.
Baum, a Pennsylvania native, earned dual degrees in art and environmental studies from the University of Oregon. After graduation, she moved back to the Lancaster, Pa., area, where she managed a ceramics studio and taught glazing techniques.
“I was mainly a working artist,” she said. “I went to a lot of shows.”
Baum made jewelry and painted, but she found her primary medium was clay.
She and her husband Casey married 2018, and decided they wanted to move somewhere else.
“We were looking into all different places like Hawaii and California,” she said, “and we decided on Colorado Springs for the beautiful nature, the smaller-scale city that it is, and the progressive culture.”
Baum said she has been cultivating relationships with local artists and hopes the studio will become a hub for the arts community.
“My goal is to have a few resident artists in clay, because that’s something you can’t necessarily do in your own home,” she said. “I’d be willing to provide studio time for other artists as well. We have a fair amount of time on weekends if workshops aren’t happening.”
In the future, she hopes to produce art shows so that students and resident artists can display and sell their work. But she doesn’t want the business to grow too much.
“I like the small-scale nature of it,” she said, “because it provides such a comfortable, intimate environment.”
At the same time, she said, “I’d love to offer it to more children and adults. So in the future, I could see maybe adding another location.”
She also hopes to build a community of support for artists.
“My goal is to see resident artists creating in a nurturing space that enhances expression, surrounded by art work for sale in the gallery by children and adults, with various teachers providing different perspectives and skills, and a ceramic art guild for local knowledge-sharing workshops and holiday art shows,” she said.