Musician Sarah Ikerd was just looking for a secluded place to make some noise, but what she found was the outstretched arms of the Everett community.
Ikerd has quickly become the newest hope in the city to create a vibrant and cool arts forum in what many believe may one day become a Cultural District in the city – that being the Norman Street and Air Force Road corridor.
After only a few weeks in the space – which is next to Revolution Axe Throwing – she has already been encouraged to have one open mic event last weekend and to plan for more community events in the space.
“Initially when I came here, I was looking for a place to make noise and set up a music studio…write music and have people come in now and then,” she said. “It’s definitely now turning into something fulfilling and a venue for the arts I love so I’m not just in a bubble, but part of a larger arts community.”
Ikerd is a rock musician with a background in Classical music, and she had been searching the Boston area for studio space. Interestingly, she came across the Everett industrial/commercial space on Craig’s List.
When she first visited it, she looked around at the raw industrial area flanked by a large Peanut Butter plant, a noxious galvanizing plant, several container storage yards and a large electrical substation.
It wasn’t so inspiring, but then she also saw the breweries, SkyZone, Revolution Axe, a couple of restaurants and several other exciting amenities. Then she heard of VillageFest and the City’s desire for the future of the area to be an arts district.
“It’s all very fresh, but as soon as I started getting out there on the Everett scene, I realized how much of a desire there is for a place to put something together that did have a combination of music, art and activities. It can be a cool community arts venue, albeit a small one… I didn’t fully realize until I started talking to people how much people want to have the arts gain more and more of a presence in the city.”
Ikerd said, in actuality, it is what she wanted her space to be, but she didn’t realize it could come to bear in Everett – particularly in Everett’s industrial area.
“It’s kind of what I really wanted to get the space for, so what I intended originally is kind of morphing into something more quickly,” she said. “The area is still pretty rough in an industrial area, but it’s coming along. I can think of a couple different areas, and this place is precisely how those arts districts started. There is a lot of potential here.”
Ikerd said she has been working closely with the City’s Maria Josefson, as well as the Cultural Council and its chair, Karyn Alzayer. There are already ideas for a pop-up art show highlighting local and regional artists in the space.
One thing that is certain is the name – Shangri-La Studios.
“It is worth noting the studio name comes from the book Lost Horizon by James Hilman – Shangri-La being like a personal timeless paradise and a state of mind,” she said.