The revamped studio aims to accommodate all artists

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Dionte Berry
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Murray, Kentucky is home to a growing arts scene, and artist and educator Anne Beyer has chosen the Murray area as a place to develop her art and further her career, creating her own space in the arts community.

Beyer is originally from Michigan and earned her Bachelor of Fine Arts degree from Albion College in 2010 and later completed a wood-fired pottery apprenticeship in Albion, Michigan.

“Cooking with wood is very basic. It’s a type of firing that’s been around for a long time, and people all over the world are creating ceramic works with wood,” Beyer said. “It’s kind of how people learned that when you heat clay it becomes hard, making it ceramic.”

After her apprenticeship, Beyer took workshops and residencies at the Penland School of Crafts in North Carolina, where she met her partner Wyatt Severs. Next, she earned her MFA in studio art from Indiana University Bloomington in 2019.

Beyer and Severs moved to Murray just before the peak of the COVID-19 pandemic in 2020.

Beyer was an adjunct professor at Murray State, teaching ceramics and art for non-majors during the fall 2021 semester. She later left the position in order to pursue her personal career as an artist.

“All these efforts [from being an instructor] was dedicated to designing the wood-fired oven, programming me, and making prototype items to start a home-based business,” Beyer said. “It’s pretty much like the artist’s version of the American dream in the studio, isn’t it? You are your own boss, you work for yourself.

Beyer is laying the foundation on her property of an anagama kiln and will soon begin building an art studio reusing materials from a building she bought at an auction. An anagama kiln, which translates to “cellar kiln,” is an ancient type of Japanese kiln used to harden ceramic clay.

The studio will serve as a production space for Beyer and Severs, who work with wood.

In addition to housing their own works, it is in Beyer’s five-year plan for the studio to serve as a space to host workshops for children and adults, residency programs, and private studios.

“We got a small business loan that allowed us to buy a building in Enterprise, Alabama, and we went over there and took it down by hand,” Beyer said. “It’s very painful to put it back together, but we can do it at a fraction of the cost and kind of incorporate that history and that idea of ​​what would happen if we reused more instead of throwing things away and buy new ones.”

Before the building was dismantled for its materials, it was a maintenance workshop. From now on, the building will serve as a carpentry workshop. Beyond the central studio, Beyer says she wants to create separate studios and living spaces for apprentices on her property.

Beyer said his apprenticeship program would serve to teach those who are still eager to learn, even though they may not have any college affiliation.

Besides a physical studio presence, Beyer said she wants to make sure the environment she creates is inclusive. Beyer plans to focus on diversity and ensuring equal opportunity for all.

“Inclusion is a big part, along with just understanding that different people have different experiences, and you have to, for example, make sure everyone can have that experience,” Beyer said.

The artistic community is a space, like many others in the United States, made up mostly of white men. Beyer said that in environments dominated by white men, it can be harder for those who are marginalized to get the same opportunities.

Under the inclusiveness umbrella, Beyer said physical accessibility is also another major goal for his studio.

“Another aspect that’s really overlooked is accessibility, like, can someone get a wheelchair somewhere,” Beyer said. “I think that happens a lot in the arts community where really basic things like being able to open a door with a button is a big deal.”

Beyer also wants the space to benefit students studying studio arts at Murray State.

“I hope to be a place where students can land after graduation, because there is a really good ceramics program at Murray State, and my studio would be a more specific type of learning,” Beyer said. “If anyone is on the Murray State program and then wants to learn more about wood burning or wants to stay, or maybe can’t travel for some reason, I’ll be there.”

Beyer plans to hold an open house for the studio from April 30 to May 1 at his property in New Concord, Kentucky.


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