It’s called the Brewery Art Colony because it includes the old Eastside and Pabst Blue Ribbon breweries. Carlson Industries bought the Brewery site in 1980 and spent two years gutting the place, removing large tanks and pipes as it reshaped each building into workable spaces.
Originally, the idea was to rent space to any kind of business, but the developer decided to open it up as a place for about 300 artists to gather and get creative.
The Brewery Art Colony sits on 18 acres. Twenty-one former warehouses (with an old Edison power plant chimney dating from 1903) house work studios, living lofts, one restaurant and a bunch of art galleries.
The Brewery is intended to feel like the campus of an alternative college, filled with youthful energy and an artsy experimental subculture.
With practitioners working in of a variety of media, the common message seems to be: Create! The owner, Carlson Industries, will not rent to those without artistic ambitions.
That is if there are lofts available, which hasn’t been the case for years.
Billed as the largest live-and-work artists’ colony in the world, there are about 300 studios and 400 people actually living here. (Most residents are men.)
These are leased apartment lofts ranging in size from 1,200 square feet to 6,000 square feet. Monthly rents are about $1.25 to $2.00 per square foot, depending on the size of the unit. Leases are for a minimum of one year.
The units are industrial-looking and barebones, which make them easier to customize to individual tastes. The design is up to the individual tenant.
The Brewery hosts a semi-annual event where studios and lofts are open to the public.
Twice a year, over 100 Brewery residents open their studios to the public in what’s called the Brewery Art Walk (which also includes a group show of participating artists’ work at The Brewery’s I-5 Gallery).