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HIDDEN GEM: Hardy & Nance Studios

The building stretches 17,000 square feet and is filled with 33 studios and about 50 in-house artists.

HOUSTON — A downtown Houston warehouse that’s home to dozens of local artists opens its doors to the public every month, but 20 years on, it's still very much a hidden gem.

"Even though we get 50 cars per minute at the intersection in rush hour hours, I would say a lot of people .... drive by and say, ‘What is that?’" said Hardy & Nance Studios owner Claire Richards. "We put banners up, finally, that say it’s an art space."

But even those banners undersell what's inside. The building stretches 17,000 square feet and is filled with 33 studios and about 50 in-house artists.

"What makes us different is that we are artist-owned and operated, so we’re the ones who call the shots," Richards said. "Collectively, there’s about 1,000 years of experience in just the art game with all of the artists who have been here."

The studios were the dream of founder and faux bois artist Donald Tucker.

"He was our fearless leader and mentor. He was a complete Renaissance man," said Richards. "We lost him in October 2019 to cancer. He’d been fighting it for some time. But not before he set us up pretty sweet with this operation here."

From 5 p.m. to 9 p.m. on the third Saturday of every month, the studios open up for a themed show. The public’s invited – for free – to check out the gallery and each artists’ studio.

"It’s super accessible," Richards said. "One of the things that’s important for everybody who’s here is that we’re good hosts. The doors are open. Everyone has the same kind of laidback vibe."

That vibe is the product of the variety of artists using the studios. 

"We’ve got people here who are teachers. People who have a Master’s. People who have traveled the world. We’ve got amateurs," shared Richards. "We like to have a mix of that at all times and I think that’s what keeps us kind of humble, you know?"

Check the event calendar at HardyAndNanceStudios.com to see what’s coming up or, say you happen to find yourself in that busy intersection, just drop by.

"If you see cars here, knock on the door, come in and get a tour," Richards encouraged.

Click here for more information about Hardy & Nance Studios.

Content sponsored by Dairy Queen.

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