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Beatnik Studios to add outdoor element

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Located just off Broadway on 17th Street, Beatnik Studios will launch an expansion project to add an outdoor artwork space, patio and event venue adjacent to its existing space.

Construction is set to begin in two weeks, and the 1,800-square-foot spot of largely unused asphalt will be fenced in with a stone wall between it and nearby residences and an “art wall” made of tin panels and distressed wood by local artist Kermit McCourt.

“We’d like it to be a place to have a sculpture garden, do some art shows and events, and maybe have some outdoor music if we can do it legally,” co-founder Wes Davis said Friday.

Over the past year, Beatnik Studios, 2421 17th St., has become more involved as a wedding venue, holding an average of about two weddings per month, according to Art Curator Greg Pond. Having the added outdoor space will allow the studio to be more appealing to those who want an outdoor aspect to their ceremonies or receptions.

Another use for the exterior area could be arts fairs, where artists would set up in a space and sell pieces similar to the way a craft show runs, Pond said.

Event Coordinator Karen Popovich said the capacity of the whole space will not be increased from its current limit of 299 people. She added that they prefer to keep the number down around 200, since that is the most comfortable. Weddings are typically held to between 150 and 175 people.

“It absolutely makes it more attractive to have that,” she said. “A lot of times with weddings people will set up an outdoor space so people can go outside for fresh air or to smoke, and they have to bring their own tents and set them up. This will allow us to charge a little bit more, and it should pay for itself.”

Davis said that the space will be big enough to have a wedding ceremony outdoors.

The fence is expected to be finished by March 24, Davis said, adding that finishing it will likely take about a year. When finished, there will be flooring of some sort over the asphalt, and a shade structure – possibly stretched canvas – is planned.

Access to the outdoor area will be via a gate in the fence, and a pathway between the fence and the rest of the studio will allow tenant access to the lofts above.

Beatnik began more than three years ago as a photography studio in a more-than-5,000-square-foot space that was, at the time, being used for storage. In the past, it was also a studio, topless bar and possibly built as a meat processing plant, Davis said.

Brandon Darnell is a staff reporter for The Sacramento Press. Follow him on Twitter @Brandon_Darnell. 

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