A space of creation and community.
Photographs: Melanie Dawn Smith
Text: Katharine H. Noyed
Melanie Dawn Smith is from Newfoundland, Canada and grew up in a tight-knit community where people, kindness, and connection constantly surrounded her. Moving to Denmark in 2013, she wanted to create a space in Denmark that emulated the same values and atmosphere as in her upbringing. This was how her business, Art Escape Studios, was created.
"I started it because I wanted a community for others, myself and my son and daughter. I wanted to be able to give that to other people as I knew how lonely it could be coming here and how difficult it can be to find your people. I also wanted to create a space where people could just come and have a friendly chat, get creative, learn something, or even find a new friend. I think we have done that very successfully!"
Located in the Østerbro neighbourhood of Copenhagen and just a short distance from Rigshospitalet, Art Escape Studios is both a cafe and an art studio, bringing together people of all backgrounds to share the space and enjoy being creative. The space is truly for everyone - whether you're a beginner or experienced artist looking to take classes or workshops, a company looking for engaging team-building activities, a family looking for a birthday party venue, a student looking for a nice place to study, a patient at Rigshospitalet looking for a healing place to relax, or someone coming right off the street to enjoy a coffee - Art Escape Studios strives to be a supportive and welcoming place for everyone and a place that puts the community at the forefront of its work. Melanie shares:
"Every time someone supports the studio, comes for a coffee, or comes to the art cafe, it puts more money back into the space for us to offer more things to the community. We try to give back as much as possible."
AES Art Collective
In addition to being a unique space for the community, Art Escape Studios is also home to AES Art Collective. Created to provide opportunities and supportive space for artists to pursue their creative endeavours while making a living from their craft, the collective has since developed organically into an all-female group. Coming with diverse professional backgrounds including psychology, education, human rights, and finance, the collective is dedicated to creating and teaching in the artistic disciplines of "oil painting, acrylic and watercolour painting, pastel and graphite drawing, photography and digital media, collage, paper sculpture and design, creative coaching, textiles and regenerative painting materials" (AES Art Collective on Art Escape Studio's Website). When speaking about the women of AES Collective, Melanie lights up.
"All of these women bring so much to the space - they are so skilled, so talented, and they have such amazing insight to offer, and there are lots of days when they are here, and we're working together; there could be 5 or 6 of us working here on projects or painting. So when guests come in, they get that extra energy seeing these artists bounce ideas off each other and create. They also want to be involved, help people, and answer questions."
So the next time you stop by the space, you might have the chance to meet some of the incredibly talented women of the AES Art Collective: Melanie Dawn Smith, Ida Glad, Ellie Trier, Sylwia Ziółkowska, Alizé Dubouchet, Peewip Nilssen, Joanna Mugford, Sandra Gruescu, Dyveke Noack, and Christine Petersen.
"Every time someone supports the studio, comes for a coffee, or comes to the art cafe, it puts more money back into the space for us to offer more things to the community. We try to give back as much as possible.” - Melanie Dawn Smith
Every month, Art Escape Studios hosts a solo art exhibition showcasing the work of different artists within the collective. AES Art Collective artist Dyveke Noack recently presented the exhibition "Tupilak and Other Tales from the North," running through mid-September. The next art exhibit will showcase artist Sylwia Ziółkowska with a Pop Up Exhibition titled Magical Art, opening September 29th from 17:00-19:00. In October, Ellie Triar will present her work, and in November, the studio will host a free Christmas party where the community can come together, find unique and locally created gifts for the holiday season, and celebrate the artists and their work.
If you want to learn more about Art Escapes Studio and see how you can get involved, click here. See their Instagram and Facebook pages to stay up-to-date on their events and happenings.