Davis Studio's New Home: A Community Creativity Center

Davis Studio is now open in our newly renovated space.  

Find us at:  916 Shelburne Road, South Burlington, VT 05403

Davis Studio has found the perfect new home! Renovation is almost complete and soon we can expand and sustain the creative arts in our community.

Humble Beginnings
Current Location: 4 Howard StreetIn 2003, Davis Studio was launched in a small, shared studio space on Howard Street, in Burlington, Vermont with the meager sum of $500. Teresa Davis was the sole instructor, offering two painting classes each week. Over the years, the studio has flourished and grown. 

The staff now includes 20 gifted and passionate instructors, and has expanded to four studio classrooms. Davis Studio currently offers nearly 30 classes each week. Over 500 campers attend our week-long summer camp programs. Additionally, Davis Studio hosts events such as birthdays, corporate team-building activities, and paint nights, as well as private art lessons. We have thrived as a creative community center for artists of all ages. We’ve been pleased to collaborate with many area schools, along with local organizations such as the Chittenden County Humane Society, the Make a Wish Foundation of Vermont and the Vermont Children’s Trust Fund.

A Permanent Home: It's Better Than We Could’ve Imagined!
We'll always appreciate our starter home, but currently we're bursting at the seams! Over the past 12 years we’ve had loads of fun with our students and friends in our starter studios, housed in an old brush and broom factory. It worked well for us, but it has not been without quirks: the lack of parking and storage, the unheated entrance adorned with industrial sized trash dumpsters. Like that first apartment after college, we have fond memories, but it's time to move and grow.

A New Home! 916 Shelburne Rd

You can imagine our excitement after finding a perfect new home, right under our noses, less than 2 miles from our current location. We have signed a three-year lease for this wonderful space, located conveniently near I-189 on Shelburne Road in South Burlington. Most recently it housed Country Curtains. This charming building was a former inn and it exudes stability, permanence, nurturance and inspiration - the very things we value and strive to provide at Davis Studio. Like our students, it brims with potential. It's located on a lovely 1.6 acre lot with plenty of green space and mature trees. It's a place where we can grow and thrive and create a whole new assortment of creative experiences and memories with our students and their families.

We're planning a $200,000 renovation of the building to optimize the space for our needs and comply with current building and public access standards. Our lease includes an option to purchase that we intend to exercise as soon as possible. The building is significantly larger than our current location and is filled with character and charm. It has been well maintained and will be a perfect fit for Davis Studio, both physically and emotionally. We'll be able to expand our class and camp offerings in order to better serve our community. You'll love the ample on-site parking (35 spaces!!). It's also got room for an in-house kitchen and “mini-café” to support our events and give parents a comfortable place to wait while their children are in class.

Support Us As We Stretch!
As you can tell, this relocation is ideal on many levels. However, it is a financial stretch for us. We're all in - and not just financially. As artists, dreamers, and lovers of life and people, we want our students and our community to have what we envision for them. Arts education has been undervalued and underfunded in our society. We value art and its role in fostering creativity. We know that you do too. Thanks to many of you, Davis Studio has been sustained 100% by student tuition. We are grateful we’ve survived and thrived without any subsidies, grants, major donors or underwriters.

To reach our full potential, however, we will need some additional community support. Help make our long-term future secure. A permanent home will ensure our presence as a vibrant part of this community for years to come.

What We Aim To Do
We aim to create a permanent home to secure our mission of fostering the creative arts in our community. Your pledge will help us accomplish two goals: (1) Bring the building up to current fire and safety codes and make it handicapped accessible in order to obtain a certificate of occupancy. (2) Renovate the second floor for additional studio space allowing us to offer expanded programming. With a larger space, we will be able to accomplish our goals of connecting to our community on a greater scale and expanding creative arts experiences for students of all ages and abilities. Ultimately, your support will help Davis Studio make a difference in the lives of thousands of children, teens and adults.

Your Impact
Help us meet our initial goal of $30,000, which will allow us to do the following:

  • $14,000 will go toward installing two handicapped accessible bathrooms that will accommodate our friends with disabilities and make it possible for us to obtain a certificate of occupancy. We cannot open our doors for business until the new space is compliant with modern Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) guidelines.
  • $16,000 will go toward constructing an enclosed stairwell required to meet life safety codes allowing us to utilize the 2nd floor with its cathedral ceilings and significant additional square footage. We cannot meet the financial targets necessary to support this new space without access to the additional classroom space that the 2nd floor will provide. 

Help us meet our stretch goal of $40,000, which will allow us to fit up a commercial kitchen.

  • $10,000 will outfit key equipment in a commercial kitchen including: an espresso/cappuccino machine, a pastry case, and a pizza oven. The addition of a kitchen will help us become a community center for events hosted by organizations and individuals alike.

In summary, by supporting this project, your impact will be to create the facilities we need in order to expand and improve our offerings for all of our students, including preschoolers, seniors, and individuals with physical disabilities. You'll increase our capacity to touch the lives of our students and their families. Funding this project will help ensure that Davis Studio matures into a permanent resource for our community.

Risks and Challenges
Any project that involves moving, renovating, permitting, and financing requires careful planning, coordination, and support. We've overcome many challenges to get this far and we expect more before we're finished. Davis Studio is lucky that Teresa is not only creative and sparkly, but also uber-organized and hard working! She has a real gift for getting things done, eliciting support from her staff and co-conspirators, and making everyone laugh and smile all the while! We're also fortunate that Teresa's husband, Robert, has been seduced into this adventure as well. His early days as a roofing contractor and his more recent experiences as CEO of a medical device startup have been handy when managing the construction and financing portions of this project. Most of all, we rely on a great group of advisors, staff, consultants and supporters in facing the challenges associated with this project. We'd have never dared to attempt to bring this dream to reality without the invaluable help of our advisors and team members:

  • Our energetic and inspiring landlords, Chuck and Jann Perkins
  • Our meticulous, creative, and generous architectural team, Alex Halpern and Steve Clark
  • Contractor extraordinaire, Tom Fontaine
  • Our patient, calm, and ultra competent lawyers, Michael Furlong and Diane McCarthy
  • The supportive team at the VT Small Business Development Center, Steve Densham and Gwen Pokalo
  • Our super bankers/financiers at Peoples United Bank and Granite State Development Corp, Colin Branon and Ethan Swain
  • The amazing staff at Davis Studio. You are the best!