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Cre8 Studios Upstairs expands Olde Main Plaza space in St. Albans

By Ben Calwell, Metro Reporter
Karen Carter-Smith at the door to her new Cre8 Studios at 78 Olde Main Plaza, St. Albans. Cre8 Studios opened June 10 and is an offshoot of Carter-Smith’s Cre8 Studios Upstairs at the same address. The downstairs Cre8 Studios is an open art space, where visitors can try their hands at multiple art disciplines without committing to formal classes upstairs.
Karen Carter-Smith works on a mosaic in her new Cre8 Studios on Olde Main Plaza, St. Albans. Visitors to the open art space can try such things as mosaics, painting on canvas or pottery or making clay jewelry, to name just a few.
Visitors to Cre8 Studios in St. Albans can also paint a variety of wooden figures and plaques.
The state of West Virginia rendered in clay is an example of the work visitors to Cre8 Studios in St. Albans can create.
A variety of pottery pieces wait to be painted at Cre8 Studios, 78 Olde Main Plaza, St. Albans.
A variety of clay molds used in making pendants and jewelry are available for use at Cre8 Studios, an open art space that is part of Cre8 Studios Upstairs in St. Albans.

When the 4 Brothers Coffee Shop moved from its storefront space on Olde Main Plaza in St. Albans, the building’s owner, Karen Carter-Smith, was faced with finding a new tenant.

Carter-Smith, an art teacher at Hayes Middle School, didn’t have far to look. In fact, she looked upstairs and found her answer.

Carter-Smith’s Cre8 Studios Upstairs now has a downstairs component called, simply, Cre8 Studios. Cre8 Studios at 78 Olde Main Plaza is an “open” art studio, where the public can come in and engage in a variety of art activities, from painting on canvases and pottery, to making jewelry and mosaic pieces.

It’s come and go, create and have fun. Her Cre8 Studios Upstairs is still intact, catering to those who register for formal art classes.

“It’s a walk-in art place; it has hours that it’s open to the public,” Carter-Smith said. “It just opened June 10.”

When 4 Brothers Coffee Shop moved out, Carter-Smith said several people expressed interest in having their businesses there, but none of them seemed a good fit for the space.

“None of them fit that vision; I’ve got a vision of my own,” she said.

It eventually dawned on her that the downstairs area of her building could nicely complement Cre8 Studios Upstairs. Patrons of Cre8 Studios Upstairs are those committed to taking “six- or eight-week” art classes.

The first-floor Cre8 Studios, on the other hand, gives people ample opportunities to stop in and try out multiple art disciplines without committing to multi-week classes upstairs.

So, for those whose busy lifestyles prevent them from delving into weeks-long art classes, Cre8 Studios is the answer.

“I wanted to create a studio, an art place, where they could come in and do multiple things when they walk in the door -- they’re not just limited to one thing,” she said.

During Cre8 Studios open hours, visitors can walk in and “paint pottery, paint a canvas, buy clay by the pound and make something and glaze it. You can make clay jewelry pendants; you can do mosaics and you can paint wooden plaques. The kids can do wooden doll furniture or stained glass, and I just added sand art. They can do a whole list of things.”

Recently, some people stopped by Cre8 Studios, “and I taught them how to make their own ‘fidget spinner,’” she said.

Carter-Smith will help visitors with their various art projects and give them guidance.

“I’ll help you get from point A to point B, or, if you don’t want any help, you can play around.”

For those who appetites for art are whetted downstairs at Cre8 Studios, they can sign up for more formal, longer classes at Cre8 Studios Upstairs.

“I want to tie down here into up there; if you like art, and you want to get more intense, we have big classes that you register for upstairs,” she said. “I want to snag them both ways -- I want people making art.”

Currently, Cre8 Studios’ summer hours are from 1 to 4 p.m. Thursday, 1 to 7 p.m. Friday and 1 to 6 p.m. on Saturday.

Cre8 Studios also sells a selection of art supplies and artworks. It also has a small “fair trade” shop featuring products from different countries.

Cre8 Studios and Cre8 Studios Upstairs can also host birthday parties, canvas painting parties, baby and wedding showers, “girls’ night out” events, field trips and book clubs.

For more information and updates about classes, visit the Cre8 Studios Upstairs Facebook page or or call 304-417-3249.


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