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  • Manuel Aguilar

Step outside the box, by stepping inside The Studio Door


Although the name might sound like a trendy bar, cafe, or restaurant in one of San Diego’s most popular business districts, Artist Patric Stillman of Studio Door is hoping to start a new trend in the heart of Hillcrest by creating something rarely found among its local commerce scene…a contemporary arts development center! With 3,000 square feet of gallery space, 1,000 square feet of workshop space and a museum store space devoted to supporting the work of local artists, Stillman’s Studio Door offers a uniquely designed space where the creative thought process of contemporary artists can be shared with the entire community.

Originally located in North Park where it opened with eight studios in 2014, Studio Door now contains twice as many studios at its new location in Hillcrest thanks to Stillman’s incredible reputation to attract diverse artists and audiences through popular exhibitions like The Crow Show, 50 to Watch and Proud. “It’s a welcoming place for both the artist and the patron”, Stillman explains and while there are a number of artists working with a variety of mediums in every studio, there is still plenty of space for patrons to comfortably view the work of exhibiting artists and showcase artists throughout the entire gallery. Stillman attributes this experience to his functional design of Studio Door which he says “creates a close relationship between the gallery, its artists and their patrons”.

Being a former nine-to-five business worker turned artist himself, Stillman also understands the need for working artists to learn about the professional side of the creative industry. This is one of the reasons Stillman started a collaboration with the Mission Federal Artwalk and the San Diego Visual Arts Network to award their Business of Art Scholarship to one selected artist every year to help market their work! For patrons, Stillman provides opportunities for them to help support similar programs as well through a variety of memberships that range in levels from $5.00 a month to $100 a month which all benefit the mission of Studio Door. “Purchasing an artist’s work is always going to be the best way to support the art community” says Stillman “but becoming a patron member or sponsoring a program at Studio Door can also have a powerful impact in helping that art community grow”.

So whether you are an artist looking to step outside the box, or, a patron looking to help open that box for local artists, step inside The Studio Door where you just might find the next generation of contemporary artists on the other side, including gallery owner Patric Stillman!