29 Mar California Storage Facility Is a Haven for Artists & Musicians
By Alex Hassel, Storage.com
Imagine if the next great artist painted their masterpiece at a self storage facility, or even if the next great musician cut their hit album a few units away. This scenario isn’t too hard to consider at Bridge Self-Storage and Art Spaces (also known as Bridge*Space) in Richmond, Calif. Not only does the facility offer standard self storage services, but it also rents spaces specifically tailored for artists and musicians.
What was first called “Bridge Storage” started more than 25 years ago on the location at 23 Maine Ave. However, it was in 2009 that father-son owners Jim and Jeff Wright decided to add something extra to benefit the community. Their solution was what became “Art Space,” transforming 25 units into artist and work studios.
“It’s the oldest storage space in town,” says Steve Hurst, office manager. “But it’s also the funkiest.”
The Wrights brought Hurst, who is also an artist, on board when they began planning the art spaces. “I became the first artist in residence. I consulted with them and told them what they would need to offer artists. I took them to a place in Berkeley and made Photoshop concepts to show them what it could be like. The Wrights added ventilation, electricity, French doors, sinks, and skylights in the ceilings.”
A shared art studio membership at Bridge*Space includes a 5×5 (i.e., 25 square foot) storage unit, access to open art spaces, free admission to presentations, access to an artists’ lounge, free Wi-Fi, resident gallery privileges, extended access hours, free use of the company truck, and more. Artists can also choose to rent their own small studios or larger spaces.
For music spaces, renters start a bit simpler with electricity and soundproof walls. However, musicians can customize the units. Many have brought in their own equipment for practicing and recording their work. Bridge*Space music rehearsal rentals also include a safe place for instrument storage and extended access hours.
Bridge*Space has been really popular with these crowds. Hurst says that once a spot is secured, artists typically don’t leave, and musicians never leave. In fact, the waiting list for music space is closed at this time. There’s even a renovation planned. When it’s finished, Bridge*Space will offer 17,500 square feet made up of 60 units for artists and 2,500 square feet made up of ten spaces for musicians.
So why are so many people flocking to create and perform at a self storage facility? “People perceive this more as an art community than a storage community,” says Hurst. “We’re also the cheapest in the area. We actually get artists from San Francisco and all over. We’re not hard-nosed. We’re family-owned. We work with defaults.”
Hurst continues, “As for musicians, Bridge*Space is a great central location. Members of a group can live all over and meet in the middle to practice at one of our music spaces.”
Jeff Wright and manager Daryl Henline, who’s a composer and musician, have recently gotten the community involved through the nonprofit, BridgeMakerARTS. The organization hosts exhibitions and events throughout the year at the facility’s gallery, provides public exposure to art, and a means for participation in creative arts, crafts, and maker fabrication technologies. It’s a way for a lot of budding artists and musicians to get noticed.
“It’s a great place in the community. When artists flourish is when an area takes off,” Hurst says.
Aside from the arts, the self storage part of Bridge*Space is still very successful. It offers 68,000 square feet of storage rentals and around 100 covered parking spaces. Serving many who live in boats at a nearby marina, the facility even offers post office boxes.
Images courtesy of Daryl Henline, Bridge*Space.