Student Artists Model Ephemeral Studios in Jerome After Scottsdale's Art One Gallery

Categories: Visual Art

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Courtesy of Ephemeral Studios
Inside Jerome's Ephemeral Studios

Holding a bake sale to fund an art gallery is either ridiculous or inspired. The five NAU art students who did it mostly remember it as embarrassing.

Oil painters Devin Kelly, Patrick Keig, Sumer Khan, Andrea Newman, and Jeff Urdang had been sharing studio space while working on their undergrad degrees at Northern Arizona University when Newman found out about a gallery vacancy in the Old Jerome High School in Jerome. Though they were somewhat unsure, the friends recognized the opening as an opportunity they couldn't pass up. So they rallied.

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Courtesy of Ephemeral Studios
A selection of work from Ephemeral Studios
"That was part of the fun of it -- how stupid and desperate we were to get this space," Keig recalls.

Considering the limited opportunities art students are typically given to show their work through a university, renting a gallery space is not such a bad idea. And considering the lack of emphasis on sales in university art spaces, it's a great one. Luckily these students aren't navigating completely uncharted territory; they're taking cues from a gallery on Scottsdale's Marshall Way that has been selling student art for the past 20 years.

In addition to the bake sale, the artists received contributions from family members, teachers, and the NAU art department. Because they initially did not have any long-term goals for the space, they raised just enough for the deposit and the first month's rent.

"We called the gallery Ephemeral Studios because we thought it may be a short-lived event, lasting only a couple months," says Newman.

But when the artists made enough to cover the following month's rent at the inaugural opening in May, they began to wonder if they could make something more out of this project, which they are now calling a student collective gallery.

I spent an afternoon with three of the founders -- Kelly, Keig, and Urdang -- as they were gearing up for a show at Beaver Street Gallery in downtown Flagstaff. These guys are the picture of the easygoing college student -- Keig in a backwards baseball cap, Kelly riding up on his bicycle halfway through the interview. But don't be deceived. This group does not shy away from hard work.

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