by India Ali
Katie DeConto and Megan Jones have been faithful Durhamians for a couple of years, but Mercury Studio, located at 407 N. Mangum Street, is new to the scene. With less than two months under its belt, Mercury Studio, like any newborn, is already causing a great stir. Artists and others alike have happily accepted the studio into the community with arms wide open.
Mercury Studio does not meet any standard definition. Its a co-working space for all types of creative people. It offers artist studio space, as well as “desk memberships” or “cafe memberships” in the co-working space. It’s art studio meets The Office: a creative, family-like, co-working environment. A collaborative, cross-occupational mash-up.
This is what DeConto and Jones are trying to achieve in the space that they’ve ingeniously shaped and craft-fully coined Mercury Studio. It is named after the chemical element, because it too is “sensitive to and indicative of its surroundings.” All in all, the studio was simply created to cater to the people.
During my visit, I asked DeConto and Jones how they felt about their new opportunity to bridge the gap and how/why they had chosen this particular concept. Together they eagerly explained that there are so many wonderful, talented people in the Triangle, that Mercury Studio aims to support the passion of these individuals and small start-ups that do not have a community or workplace in which to collaborate. They want to connect them with one another and give the “9 to 5’ers” an environment where they can pursue their dream career. “We’re very open to sharing our space and are very excited to connect with the community,” DeConto explained. “We want to use it to serve the community and we want individuals to feel free to contact us with any ideas for local collaboration. We came up with the idea because we felt like it was something that Durham could really benefit from.”
It’s a rather simple, yet intelligent and unique idea. Mercury Studio will host public events every third Friday and everyone is welcome to their parties. In July, they will begin a monthly retreat, helping artists to “Refocus.” The space is also used as a gallery, rotating local artwork every month. It’s accessible to its members 24 hours a day.
If all of the above isn’t enough, just take fifteen minutes out of your day to visit the space. You will be sold. It reminded me of a really cool classroom, no boring lectures. The Studio is cleverly filled with local artists’ work and it has great space for independent, free thinking and collaborative work, coupled with a cozy kitchen, comfy sofas, and a fish tank. It felt like a home away from home. Katie DeConto and Megan Jones are onto something uber cool, something refreshingly fresh, that I hope the community continues to support.
India Ali is an Atlanta native and a Durham advocate volunteering at Triangle ArtWorks. Life is her muse; she lives by “desiderata”. She is currently working on her JD/MBA joint degree at North Carolina Central University, whilst tapping into her chi via painting and poetry. You can contact her by email.
Tags: "creative placemaking", artist studios, Durham, India Ali, Katie Deconto, Megan Jones, Mercury Studio, venues