Orr Street Studios Celebrates its Artistic Influence

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COLUMBIA - Orr Street Studios celebrated five years in business on Tuesday. Developer and Owner Mark Timberlake purchased the property on Orr Street in 2005. Before he purchased the building, it was used for industrial purposes.

After purchasing the property, Timberlake had to decide what to do with the space. He said, "To turn this into a standard commercial property just wasn't going to work because customers or clients or whatever wouldn't come to this area." 

After major construction on the building, it was turned into an art studio with numerous individual studios inside. Each studio is rented on a yearly lease.

Chris Teeter, an artist who created the 16 doors separating each studio, said Orr Street Studios is the perfect place for any artist. He said, "Artists tend to be reclusive by nature, and what they do they do in isolation, so a lot of artists out there are in their basement, bedrooms and spare rooms and don't have a place to meet, so to have a place to come is key."

The studio is open to the public to walk around and purchase art. The building is also used for events like weddings, birthdays and meetings.

Business owner Richard Ditter said he thinks the Orr Street Studios helped changed the North Village area, now known as the North Village Art District, into a safer and more popular place to live, open a business and just walk around. 

Ditter said, "To see other properties that 20, 30, 40 years ago were looked down on by retailers and restaurants, now they have an appeal that people are realizing there is more to downtown than just Broadway." 

Ditter said it is exciting to see the North Village area change and believes there is more change to come.