ST. CLOUD – Musicians, dancers and artists of all types have a new resource in downtown St. Cloud.

The Studio, located on the second floor of 701 West St. Germain Street, is available to rent by the hour for dance/voice lessons, band practices, drama rehearsals, yoga/fitness classes and more.

The space was occupied by StudioJeff, a ballroom and Latin dance school, until November 30. Lucille Guinta-Bates, owner of The Studio, began booking dance and vocal practice time at StudioJeff in 2016.

“I came in here, rehearsed, choreographed,” she said. “In 2017, I did a spoken word show with music and dance. So, this became a very important spot for me. I decided, at age 47, to (start dancing again.) And this room is where I did a lot of that. This space is just an artistic space for me.”

Earlier this year, Guinta-Bates had a conversation with StudioJeff owner Jeff Ringer about the future of the space.

“I asked him what was going to happen when he didn’t want to run (StudioJeff) anymore, and I let him know I was interested,” she said. “It was just a really casual conversation. And then this summer, he said, ‘Lucille, I’m not going to renew the lease in November.’ He let me know really early.”

Guinta-Bates says she took a couple months to think it over before deciding to “take the plunge” and turn it into a co-working space with an artistic flair.

“Someone like me can use the space as an outlet to come and do some work on their own, or in a small group,” she explained. “When you have a whole studio, there’s a lot of overhead. But, if someone just wants to rent the space, it’s turnkey. It’s got everything you need. There’s a stereo. There’s internet. You just come in, teach your class, pay your rent and then collect your money from your students.”

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Guinta-Bates says the Studio will also eventually function as an art gallery, featuring receptions for the featured artist-of-the-month, once the COVID-19 pandemic is over.

The Studio will be available for rent seven days a week between 8:00 a.m. and 10:00 p.m. Individuals and groups of up to three people can rent it for $15 an hour. The rate for larger groups is $25 an hour.

“I can charge a reasonable rate because the rent for the space is reasonable,” Guinta-Bates said. “We’re on the second floor. It’s an older building. So, I can really do a sustainable business model that is friendly to people who are artistic and generally don’t have a lot of money.”

While the COVID-19 pandemic is far from over, Guinta-Bates sees plenty of potential for The Studio in the next few months.

“I expect December and January to be soft because of the pandemic,” she said. “But at the same time, there are opportunities because there are people out there who are going stir crazy who would like to come to a space like this a couple hours a week.”

“I’m really depending on social media, grassroots networking and word-of-mouth to get the word out,” Guinta-Bates added. “The great thing about this artistic community is that everybody knows everybody. So, I’m talking to everybody I know.”

The Studio is hosting a virtual open house on Friday, Dec. 18 from 7:00-8:00 p.m., featuring live music by pianist Tony Kapinos. To learn more, visit The Studio’s Facebook page.

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