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A visit to Fresh & Co. Studio and Fresh Art Photography in The Grove

Nicki's Central West End Guide Art & Architecture Services Shop News  The Grove St. Louis Jodie Allen Fresh&Co.Studio Fresh Art Photography Elizabeth Freshour

There are plenty of event spaces in St. Louis, some of which are located here in the CWE—Mahler Ballroom and The McPherson come to mind. But what Elizabeth Freshour and Jodie Allen have created with the opening of Fresh & Co. Studio and Fresh Art Photography, at 4366 Manchester in The Grove, takes a slightly different approach.

When Freshour and Allen stumbled upon the dark and dreary 1200 s.f. space across from Urban Chestnut, it had been vacant for a couple of years. They saw the potential for what they envisioned as a “spin on a co-working space,” two businesses sharing one storefront, not as partners but as “studio mates.”  Since opening last April, they have accomplished what they hoped for. The eye-catching storefront and type of business fits right into the increasing vitality of The Grove, and they have been booking events in the space ever since.

Elizabeth Freshour’s Fresh & Co. Studio can be leased for bridal or baby showers, craft workshops, pop-ups, small meetings, etc.  While I was interviewing Freshour,  I kept picturing an all-white dinner party that’s been on my mind for years.Nicki's Central West End Guide Art & Architecture Services Shop News  The Grove St. Louis Jodie Allen Fresh&Co.Studio Fresh Art Photography Elizabeth Freshour

Photo courtesy of Untamed Heart Photography

Studio-mate Jodie Allen, above, uses the space for her business, Fresh Art Photography, and in addition, the white canvas of a space is available for other photographers to lease for shoots as well.

Nicki's Central West End Guide Art & Architecture Services Shop News  The Grove St. Louis Jodie Allen Fresh&Co.Studio Fresh Art Photography Elizabeth Freshour

Photo courtesy of Fresh Art Photography

Elizabeth Freshour, above, her husband and their toddler moved to St. Louis from the Bay Area 7 years ago. Now there are two kids, ages 6 & 9. Freshour hired Jodie Allen to take their family portrait each year, and they became friends.  As the friendship blossomed, they decided to blend their business ideas together in The Grove.

In the past Freshour has worked in data storage and in sales operations for a natural food company. Now she not only manages the event space—and repaints the studio’s white floor several times a month (which she says she has down to a science),  she also finds time to work for a non-profit and to work in elder care.

“I feel very excited and lucky to have started this business with Jodie,” she said, “Creating a place for people to succeed while making their art or hosting a workshop is a joy to watch.”

Nicki's Central West End Guide Art & Architecture Services Shop News  The Grove St. Louis Jodie Allen Fresh&Co.Studio Fresh Art Photography Elizabeth Freshour

Fresh & Co. Studio is used for rehearsals too. An indie rock band practices there, and because why not. theater co. has been rehearsing for a performance of Fair Youth which will be presented, April 18, 19 & 20Crafters and yoga instructors also rent the space, you can find out about these events on the website too.Nicki's Central West End Guide Art & Architecture Services Shop News  The Grove St. Louis Jodie Allen Fresh&Co.Studio Fresh Art Photography Elizabeth Freshour

To see the types of events that have been held at Fresh & Co. Studio, click Tour on the website. The studio is open by appointment between 9 a.m. and 10 p.m., 7 days a week. There is a kitchenette, free wi-fi, an outdoor area, and tables, chairs (for 40), and linens for rent. Freshour maintains a list of party stylists and caterers on the website, or you can provide your own. Entry to the space is concierge-style, so after you key in the entry code, you are completely on your own.

When Freshour moved to St. Louis, she had no professional contacts. Now, with the creation of Fresh & Co. Studio, she says she has built incredible relationships with many entrepreneurs, which has added to the reasons why she is so happy they moved to St. Louis.

Fresh & Co. Studio and Fresh Art Photography, 4366 Manchester in The Grove. For photography studio/event pricing information contact Elizabeth at info@freshandcostudio.com, (314) 722-8812.

87% voted yes! Two neighborhood districts have special vote on Tuesday for Safety and Security Propositions

Nicki's Central West End Guide Events, Sightings Services  CWE North SBD Cathedral Square SBD

Photo shows police officers from The City’s Finest patrolling in the CWE North SBD.

There’s been a lot of encouragement posted on the NextDoor website for CWE residents to vote in favor of  propositions to renew taxing authority for ten years (2019-2029) in two CWE Special Business Districts (SBDs) that will be on the ballot this Tuesday, April 2nd. Voters in the CWE North SBD and Cathedral Square SBD will determine whether the special tax that supports security initiatives in those parts of the CWE will be continued. (See map below.)

Here’s what’s at stake: Passage of the propositions will ensure ongoing funding for supplemental police patrols, the operation of an extensive security camera system, lighting improvements and other measures intended to enhance neighborhood safety and security.

Nicki's Central West End Guide Events, Sightings Services  CWE North SBD Cathedral Square SBD

CWE North SBD highlighted in yellow. Cathedral Square SBD highlighted in blue

NOTE: I was surprised to learn that there is a separate paper ballot specifically for this proposition that should be provided to each qualified voter at the polling locations affected by the propositions.

Voters in the two districts are encouraged to VOTE YES to support funding for continuation of these important initiatives.

Consuming Kinetics Dance Company moves to new CWE location

Nicki's Central West End Guide Books, Dance, Music, Theater Health & Wellness Services  St. Louis Art Supply Presto Color Printing Juno Bridal Jackson Piano Consuming Kinetics Dance Company Bowood Farms Ashreale McDowel Arica Brown Anthony Bady

Consuming Kinetics Dance Company (CKDC) is the latest in the mix of businesses that have moved to a stretch of Olive Street from Walton Ave. east to Boyle, an area of the CWE that heretofore might have been considered off the beaten path.

Other examples include St. Louis Art Supply which debuted at 4532 Olive in late August, and Premier Martial Arts, located just opposite CKDC at the corner of Olive and Taylor. In December Bowood Farms opened an expanded gift and home shop called Holliday, joining Juno BridalHorsley Gallery and Jackson Piano  among the recent arrivals in the district. The oldest business on that stretch is Presto Color Printing, 4370 Olive, which has been in business on Olive for over 50 years.

Nicki's Central West End Guide Books, Dance, Music, Theater Health & Wellness Services  St. Louis Art Supply Presto Color Printing Juno Bridal Jackson Piano Consuming Kinetics Dance Company Bowood Farms Ashreale McDowel Arica Brown Anthony Bady   CKDC’s Founder, Executive and Artistic Director Arica Brown, left, and Assistant Artistic Director Ashreale McDowell, right, along with fellow instructors and volunteers, spent 6 weeks renovating the 2000 s.f. corner space in the Lister Building at Olive and Taylor, above. On January 3, Consuming Kinetics Dance Company, which had been located in Gaslight Square for the previous 4 years, was back in operation offering classes for youth, ages 3 to 18, and adults, ages 19 to 70.

Arica Brown earned a B.A. in Dance from UMSL and a certificate in Somatic Studies from W.U.  Brown founded CKDC in 2009 just after college. She wanted an opportunity to continue choreographing and her friends wanted to keep on dancing. The name Consuming Kinetics Dance Company comes from Brown’s desire to incorporate the word “kinetic, and to have an edgy, limitless feel, to be all consuming.”

Ashreale McDowell discovered dance while attending Central Visual and Performing Arts High School and was awarded a pre-professional scholarship to COCA. From there she earned a B.F.A. in Dance from Webster University. Here are their interesting bios, as well as those of other artists and staff, including 3 who are named the “junior junior company.”

According to the website, CKDC, a 501(c)3, is the only professional dance company in St. Louis that offers all level classes. Class fees help pay for the dance company’s performance season (there are two full-length performances yearly), and create more job opportunities for full-time artists. CKDC is a Kranzberg Arts Foundation Resident and a member of the .ZACK Incubator.

My first exposure to a CKDC youth performance was during last holiday’s CWE Window Walk event. See below:

Nicki's Central West End Guide Books, Dance, Music, Theater Health & Wellness Services  St. Louis Art Supply Presto Color Printing Juno Bridal Jackson Piano Consuming Kinetics Dance Company Bowood Farms Ashreale McDowel Arica Brown Anthony Bady

Since CKDC opened, there’s been a noticeable shot of energy added to the corner of Taylor and Olive when  students are dropped off for class in the late afternoon. The photo above shows a teenage hip-hop class taught by Anthony Bady, center front, taken in early January. Other classes on the weekly schedule include Tiny Dancers for ages 3 to 6, Teen and Youth Tap,  All Ages Animation and Robotics, and All Ages Musical Theater.

When asked if the students come from a particular school, Brown said they draw from all over. “We focus on diversity and are lucky that our client base is just that. We rarely have more than 2 to 3 students from one school.” She continued, “Families come to CKDC for our unique approach to dance instruction. We raise our students as artists. There isn’t a dress code, and with our mission making dance accessible to all, we don’t require students to purchase dance shoes either. All shoes are provided on site thanks to the generosity of our sponsors.”

Youth classes cost $50/month for one class a week, $80/month for 2 classes a week, etc. Brown emphasized that scholarships are available.

Nicki's Central West End Guide Books, Dance, Music, Theater Health & Wellness Services  St. Louis Art Supply Presto Color Printing Juno Bridal Jackson Piano Consuming Kinetics Dance Company Bowood Farms Ashreale McDowel Arica Brown Anthony Bady

Parents watch as the hour-long class winds down.

Nicki's Central West End Guide Books, Dance, Music, Theater Health & Wellness Services  St. Louis Art Supply Presto Color Printing Juno Bridal Jackson Piano Consuming Kinetics Dance Company Bowood Farms Ashreale McDowel Arica Brown Anthony Bady

The photo above shows adults warming up for a Monday night contemporary dance class. A hip-hop dance class for adults followed at 8 p.m. A list of classes can be found here.  Drop-in classes are $15 each, a 6-class card is $80, etc.

CKDC offers more than dance. Parents of young children will be glad to know that next Saturday, February 16, CKDC is hosting a Parents Night Out event, and this summer an Art and Dance Camp from July 15 to August 9. Learn more here.

Also, for the bride and groom anxious to WOW their guests at the reception, CKDC instructors choreograph wedding dances. Information about private lessons here.

Consuming Kinetics Dance Company at 465 N. Taylor and Olive.