SHERIDAN – In many ways, the opening of BE YOU Studio is a full-circle moment for Sara Von Krosigk.
It was in this very building – the former home of The Union at the Montgomery at 15 W. Brundage St. – that Von Krosigk sold one of her very first designs: a T-shirt with the words “Be You” on it.
Years later, as a Sheridan High School senior, Von Krosigk launched the Be You Scholarship to “encourage students to be themselves and follow their passions.” And she sees the work being done in her new studio as an important continuation of that mission: a place to foster creativity, camaraderie, networking and learning and to encourage community artists and creatives to just be themselves.
“My goal is to help young kids and others in Sheridan explore the creative passions they’re interested in,” Von Krosigk said.
The studio will be home to several “resident artists,” including Von Krosigk herself, who will use the space’s loft to house her brand and design studio GYST Creative. Other resident artists include Logan Jenkins and his nonprofit Circular Wyoming, and Ashley Cooper, who is leaving her career as a Sheridan High School art teacher to pursue her own art full time.
“Sara Von Krosigk was a student of mine – one of my first students actually, ”Cooper said. “She approached me about renting some studio space and shared her vision of creating this shared artist space, and I was all in.”
For Jenkins, being in the studio creates more visibility for the work of Circular, which “showcases unique solutions to global problems through creative, artistic projects” such as solar panel art.
“I think it serves a purpose for Sara and I to have our companies in a physical space where we can show off the projects we’re working on,” Jenkins said. “It’s a great way to increase visibility for what we’re doing.”
In addition, there will be several consistently changing “pop-up vendors” in the space, Von Krosigk said. In another full-circle moment, the first of those vendors will be Sara’s mom – and former owner of Union at the Montgomery – Kristi Von Krosigk.
Pop-up vendors will occupy the space for up to a week at a time, Von Krosigk said, and her goal is to use the space to “support emerging entrepreneurs and create more opportunities.”
The studio will also support young artists through a new “Youth Arts Entrepreneurship in the Circular Economy” class set to launch this fall, Jenkins said. The class, taught by Cooper and Ellen Goode, will be partially funded through a grant from the Wyoming Arts Council.
“It will be a class for youth artists, ages 12 to 22, teaching them the business side of creating and selling artwork,” Jenkins said. “We have a lot of really talented young artists in this community, but that does not mean they know how to sell their artwork or how to market it. So that’s what we’ll focus on in the class. ”
“One thing I’ve noticed as a teacher is that there is almost like a stigma against going into art as a career,” Cooper said. “There’s this idea that you can not do what you love as an artist and still make money. That’s why I’m excited about this class because it will show youth they can do the things they love and still make a living at it. ”
Von Krosigk said she was excited about the new storefront and its potential to empower local artists.
“I think a lot of the stuff we’re doing in there will bring more to the downtown community, and I’m excited for people to see the space,” Von Krosigk said.
BE YOU Studio will host an open house June 16 during the first 3rd Thursday Street Festival of the summer, Von Krosigk said.
Stephen Dow is a reporter at The Sheridan Press.