Here’s what people are saying about Mercury Studio. Click the article title to read the whole story!
Jones and DeConto are the latest in a group of artists, entrepreneurs, and downtown Durham enthusiasts to take over and make use of historic or existing buildings as working spaces for artists and galleries.
Megan Jones and Katie DeConto, recent arrivals to Durham, opened Mercury Studio, described on its website as “a place for individuals to express and improve themselves through practicing their craft, be it oil painting or software development.” They described the support they have received from other organizations downtown, and have consulted with the Durham Chamber of Commerce on how the studio could best serve the needs of residents.
In 2006, filmmaker Kenny Dalsheimer and letter press printer Dave Wofford started Bull City Arts Collaborative on Foster Street. Last year, Wendelbo started The Carrack Modern Art, a no-commission gallery, on Parrish Street (the gallery will celebrate its first anniversary this weekend). This month, Megan Jones and Katie DeConto opened Mercury Studio on Mangum Street in a building that Scott Harmon of Center Studio Architecture renovated.
This activity represents more willingness of the part of the community to invest in artists, Wendelbo said. “What’s happening is that channels for artists to express themselves are beginning to exist in ways that did not exist before,” he stated in an email message.
My sister Katie DeConto and her business partner Megan Bowser Jones have carved up the wide-open space into a unique co-office environment where independent creative workers can work alone and together at the same time. The idea is this: Not everybody can afford their own office space, but not everybody wants to work at home or at a coffeeshop either.
Mercury Studio does not meet any standard definition. Its a co-working space for all types of creative people. It offers artist studio space, as well as “desk memberships” or “cafe memberships” in the co-working space. It’s art studio meets The Office: a creative, family-like, co-working environment. A collaborative, cross-occupational mash-up.
Since the economy crashed resulting in fewer jobs, the creatives turned entrepreneurs and started opening businesses and working freelance from home. Although working from home has it’s perks, if you’ve ever worked from home you know it can get old fast. In comes Mercury Studio, a community-minded studio and workspace in downtown Durham, is opening at 407 N. Mangum Street this summer. With a cozy cafe space, work desks, artist studios, a conference room, bathrooms, kitchen, and unlimited coffee and tea, Mercury Studio offers something for everyone.
Why is Mercury Studio important?
The topic has been already discussed a gazillion times over the whole Net: a coworking space is not just a new small business opening in town.
It has the power to ignite new synergies and energies into the existing business ecosystem, it has a major impact on the local community and it could bring huge benefits to the public administration too.
Here is the skinny. Two young Durhamanians, uninspired by their grind it out nine to five options, looked around the landscape of our city and said to themselves; “there is room to open a collaborative space where individuals and small businesses can work, bond, build and thrive.” The exact definition of their space is purposefully amorphous because they want to leave room for their confederates, who have the options to lease desks or studios, as well as floating cafe memberships, by the month, half year or year, to participate in the co-creation of the environment.