Growing up in any city, there are certain demographically universal experiences and feelings. Part of growing up in Colorado Springs, as much as visiting Santa's Workshop at the North Pole, is the persistent desire to put the city firmly in the rearview mirror.
It was true for Meredith Ann (Smarr). But she, like many, put down roots. Ann is now the Executive Director for Rooted Studio, a purple-doored collective art space located across the street from Pleasant Valley Baptist Church,
"The concept, really the heart of it, is that we wanted to stay in Colorado Springs," she says. "Growing up in Colorado Springs, it was all about trying to leave... I didn't want to be here. This is not where I thought I'd end up. I thought I'd be over in Europe or LA or something, but I stayed. The idea of grounding ourselves and rooting and growing roots is kinda the concept behind the whole idea."
Rooted Studio has been open since early 2014, and it's been in its current location since February 2015. The building was originally storage space for the church, badly in need of renovations. Ann and the Rooted team were allowed to operate their collective art space in exchange for fixing up the building. Now, it hosts artistic endeavors from younger artists, newer or first-time exhibitors and people who don't generally have opportunities to show. Ann describes it as "a haven or a safe space or a jumping-off place to go out and do your own idea."
"I think, for me, it's really important that my endeavors have a lot of support and strength before I just go out and do them," she says. "So I want this to be a very nurturing space for people who have really good ideas."