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Studio Cafe newest artistic hub in Hintonburg

It seems as if the crisp white Studio Café is another Ottawa hangout spot meant for relaxing with a cup of java and gazing at the art on the walls.

But wander through to the back, and there’s an art workshop spot with a sink and blackboard primed for painting or photography classes. Another smaller studio space is tucked into the back with a farm door from Stittsville separating the two.

That flow from a café/gallery to a workshop/studio is just what Crystal Beshara dreamed up years ago. The Hintonburg hub at 1089 Somerset West St. is a space where artists can work, teach and sell their paintings.

“This concept is new for Ottawa, but it’s an old concept,” she explains. “People call it the ‘third place’ – your home being your first place, your work being your second place and then this other space that is soul-nurturing.”

The Studio Café seems to bust through the notion that painting is a solitary career and galleries are cold, austere environments. White walls are softened with a mishmash of custom-made wood furniture and collectors’ items.

Photography, jewellery and filmmaking will be among the classes offered in the space out back. The idea is that participants can grab a cup of locally roasted Happy Goat coffee in the café side afterwards. Beshara is hoping to add sandwiches and wine to the menu and host book readings and artist seminars.

She’s trying to raise money to cover the renovation costs, but she’s only a third through her $15,000 fundraising goal on Indiegogo.

For more on her café and rental costs, visit her website.

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