At first Water Street Studios was just a dream.
The vision was to have a central location for artists to rent affordable space and develop their craft in a supportive and collaborative environment. The scope then grew to include gallery spaces and classrooms. This dream was shared by the artists of the Fox Valley, Batavia Enterprises, Inc., the City of Batavia and the community.
On June 24, 2008, the Batavia Artists Association at Water Street Studios was incorporated as a not-for-profit organization in the state of Illinois. The Batavia Artists Association partnered with Water Street Studios on August 15, 2009 and, in celebration, hosted the first juried gallery show on September 18, 2009, welcoming a crowd of over 1,500 people. Water Street Studios began as a community initiative and then transformed into a public-private partnership.
The build-out for Water Street Studios was made possible through a TIF grant and forgivable loans given by the City of Batavia to Batavia Enterprises Inc., our current landlords. The Batavia Artists Association renovated the building with the goal of exhibiting top-quality artwork to the community, allowing all people to experience art in a unique way that cannot be found anywhere else in downtown Batavia. The artist studios were built to accommodate those who wanted their own space at an affordable rental rate.
The Batavia Artist Association at Water Street Studios was founded by Joi Cuartero, Austin Dempsey, Jim Kirkhoff, Kari Kraus, Steven Lockwood, and Sharon Sychta. A special thanks to these individuals for all their hard work in helping to establish this cultural hub in the heart of downtown Batavia.
Our nonprofit organization is housed in a historic 16,000 square-foot limestone building and features 26 artists studios, three classrooms, premiere art galleries, ceramics studio, metalworking studio, and printmaking lab.