In Addition

New building opens time portal to TASI’s future

Art Studio director Greg Busceme stands in front of the new addition, with the current building in the background. Photo by Andy Coughlan.

Over the course of The Art Studio’s 34-year history, it has planted roots in several locations from the original location at the corner of Neches and Milam, downtown at Forsythe and Orleans where the court annex now sits, and finally to the 720 Franklin address.

The Studio has had its Goldilocks syndrome of finding the place that fits right — and each of those locations suited its purpose and mission for The Studio.

Now The Studio has grown again — not moved or moving as some on social media have asked and wondered, but grown, by acquiring the adjacent property at 840 Franklin.

“We have been eyeing the property for a while,” Greg Busceme, executive director, said. “We were familiar with the location through the previous owner, Alfonso Albacete and his ironworks, and when he decided to move, the TASI board and I began to think of ways to acquire the property.”

Busceme said the addition of the 6,000 sq. ft. property offers several advantages for The Studio to continue in its mission of being among the most established and prevailing creative arts facilities in the area.

“The proximity is a big factor because we have a constant need for consistent, safe parking for our exhibitions and events,” Busceme said. “The property is close to move-in ready with minimal work being required after the necessary occupancy inspections.”

Joe Winston, Studio board president, said the acquisition is a testament that what the organization is doing is supported by the community because of the need of more resources.

“For over 30 years, The Studio has been providing classes and exhibitions and we’ve grown together with the community,” Winston said. “We’re excited because we enjoy fostering the cultural growth of our home. We want to be able to provide as many artistic opportunities for all members of the community and this addition will help us do that.”

Some items already completed include a new bathroom, new plumbing, a lighting upgrade, as well as running gas lines and additional electrical outlets. However, there are two immediate projects remaining for occupancy Busceme said.

TASI’s new addition. Photo by Andy Coughlan

“Our two main items waiting completion is the installation a new fire alarm system and the construction of a ramp to comply with the Americans with Disability Act,” he said.

“We’re looking at several options to complete to complete installation of the fire alarm system. It’s about a $14,000 expense, and not one that can be completed easily or overnight, it’s a huge expense for us. We saved for a long time to purchase the building, and we need and plan to return to focusing on specific fundraising for this building.”

Busceme said he hopes to attract Boy Scouts from the area to the ramp building as a prime opportunity for an Eagle Scout project. In addition, he said that The Studio is interested in receiving fill-dirt, gravel or caliche to level parking areas on the new property.

Greg Busceme is The Art Studio’s new addition. ISSUE photo by Andy Coughlan.

“Hang on, watch, and join with us in the wonderful activities we’re going to continue to bring to Southeast Texas in our 34th season,” Winston said. “If you’re not a member, you should be.”

The public is invited to meet and greet the tenant artists, board members and volunteers of The Art Studio, Inc. at its annual membership meeting Wednesday, Sept. 13 starting at 7 p.m.

“The Annual Membership Meeting is a great opportunity for the public to tour The Studio and to bring ideas out into the open for improving art culture in our community,” Winston said. “We are always looking for fresh ideas and committee members and volunteers to help develop projects and events. We’re here to serve the community and we want to hear from everyone.”

The Studio is located at 720 Franklin in downtown Beaumont and is open Tuesday through Friday 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. and 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Saturday.

ISSUE story by Stephan Malick