One is challenged to try and grab the new art/photography store located halfway down the High Street where the ‘old’ Block Island Health and General Store once sat on the outskirts of town.
But it’s eclectic: “A person or physical environment drawing ideas, style or taste from a wide range of sources” could work well because the installation will appeal to a lot of very different ways, and certainly sting the side creative in his brain. It is a place that must be absorbed to be appreciated, just like art.
The store is the brainchild of Eli Holmes, who created a non-intimidating and relaxed “hangout” atmosphere in the place as she slowly builds it up and fills the large rooms. The more time we spend rummaging through various corners and boxes, the more I do not know what the mood inevitably seems to envelop you.
For professional or budding photographers, there are supplies not found elsewhere on the island. In fact, traditional photographers using analog gear and used to buying their film in temperature-controlled coolers will be right at home settling in and talking shop. They can then come back and learn how to use the darkroom to develop their “art” into photographs suitable for framing or simply lay down the film to be developed. What a great hobby to cultivate.
“Analog photography is one of the best ways to slow down and deeply connect to the environment around you. Bringing analog photography back to Block Island just
made sense,” said Holmes, who is a professional photographer with a solid wedding business that keeps her busy.
The same goes for budding artists who can take classes, discuss technique, and mingle with others in a non-threatening, non-judgmental environment while improving their abilities to convert physical objects into paints and stencils that stir the soul.
“Our mission is to make art affordable and accessible to anyone visiting or living on Block Island. Whether you wanted to take a Holga [camera]paint a little or hang some
local art for your walls,” says Holmes on his new website.
Art classes and workshops are also planned and spring up, developing a sense of community for those still learning the technique and applications. Special events and even live music are scheduled occasionally throughout the year. During the summer months it is open seven days a week and will adapt during the winter months depending on demand.
Time flies on a visit to Holmes who has an all-pervading authenticity when she talks about Block Island as “a great place to raise kids where they interact with
nature every day, instead of just reading about it.
She is familiar with the character and charm of the island and sees the studio (thestudioblockisland.com) as an extension of that, a place where visitors and locals will be
able to collaborate and learn from each other while developing their skills in art and photography. All are welcome to visit.