We recently connected with Michelle Biely and have shared our conversation below.
Michelle, thanks for taking the time to share your stories with us today We’d love to hear the backstory behind a risk you’ve taken – whether big or small, walk us through what it was like and how it ultimately turned out.
I do not view myself as a business owner. I see myself as a creative! The biggest risk I ever took was becoming a business owner so other creative people would have some place to practice their passion and be around others that are just as excited about creating their art as they are. My passion is animals. I LOVE animals. However I tend to be more logically creative brained than logically book smart brained. With this knowledge I knew going to vet school was out of the question so I went to photography school instead. While my other classmates were focusing on photographing people and products I was trying to figure out how to apply this knowledge to getting closer to animals. Upon graduation I decided to become a pet photographer. I loved being able to use my talent to capture what people love about their pets. I began hearing about other creatives that needed places to practice their passion. I quit doing my photography and focused on how I could make that happen. I came up with an idea. Why can’t there be a place where artists of any kind can come together and work side by side? No walls, no doors, no barriers? Just the artists, their supplies and everyone’s mixed creative energy and ideas! Several local artists told me my idea would never work. Artists and creatives want their own space. They want to keep their techniques to themselves. They want walls and doors. I didn’t listen! I believed if this was an idea I had then it must be something that is needed by others. After much searching I found the perfect location in an former shooting range. With my knowledge of light I set off to create the perfect space for an artist. I had a waiting list before the building was even finished! Since opening we have had painters, stain glass window makers, jewelers, mobile designers, photographers and mixed media artists. During the shut down due to COVID I believed we would survive. It is one thing for an artist to choose to work from home it is another when they are forced to. With the reopening of our doors came new tenants. The Center has been open for 6 years now and we always have a waiting list. We have housed artists that do this as their living to creatives who just need an outlet. There is no other place like this in my city. Had I listened to the naysayers there still might not be!
Michelle, love having you share your insights with us. Before we ask you more questions, maybe you can take a moment to introduce yourself to our readers who might have missed our earlier conversations?
I am an animal lover that happens to be creative. I got into my industry by way of a graphic design degree followed up with one in photography. I have always wanted to help. Most of my animal photography was done for local animal shelters. Once I realized I could help other creatives and artists by giving them a place to go that was suited for them that became my focus. To me my work is creating this space that is the Center. I give my clients a place to commune with other ideas and mediums. I give them a place where they feel accepted and free. They can be themselves here. It gives them a place to be around people that get them and can possibly help them improve their craft. There are no real co-working artists spaces where I am. There are co working spaces but they offer desk spaces or private studios. The Center is an open space where artists set up right next to each other and work. Our space is for creatives and artists only.
: Is there a particular goal or mission driving your creative journey?
My goal was never to help those that are already known and have their own space. My goal was to get those people that use their dinning table, garage, living room, or spare bedroom as a work space. It is to get people out of their houses and around others that are trying to express themselves as well. I want to make their ability to join us affordable. My mission is to create a place where creatives and artists can come and build a community.
What do you find most rewarding about being a creative?
The most rewarding part for me is when people come in and tell me how beautiful the space is. When they express their gratitude for being here and having a place they can come to. It is watching others collaborate and seeing the community grow.
- Website: https://www.creativecenterscottsdale.com/
- Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/thecreativecenterscottsdale/
- Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/TheCreativeCenterOfScottsdale/
Portrait credit Scott Foust Studios