Local art studio offers creators a chance to show off and sell work

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Union Studio is here to help artists of all kinds. “I am proud that we have a reputation of everything being handmade but it also being high-quality handmade. Things that are going to last you, things that are going to function well, things that aren’t going to break,” Webster graduate and co-creator of Union Studio Sarah Kelly said.

A problem artists face is how to sell their artwork and get their names known, but Union Studio has given them a solution. They only sell products from local artists. No commercial goods here. It’s a place where art and community meet.

Webster graduate Sarah Kelly is a co-creator of Union Studio. According to Kelly, they take pride in the fact that all of their products are handmade.

Jewelry, home goods, stationery and even skincare are just a few of the products sold by Union Studio.

“I am proud that we have a reputation of everything being handmade but it also being high-quality handmade. Things that are going to last you, things that are going to function well, things that aren’t going to break,” Kelly said.

Union Studio gives artists throughout the community a chance to not only sell their work but show it off. The Webster Groves location opened in October and it created more opportunities for Union Studio and fine artists in the community as well.

“This new Webster [Groves] location has a huge wall that has lots of space for fine art, and that’s the thing that the Tower Grove location didn’t have,” Kelly. “When we knew we were going to pull the trigger on fine art, we were like, ‘Okay, I guess we need some more fine artists!’”

Union Studio does its best to care for the individual artist and their work, according to Kelly. They strive to give artists a safe space to create work that is complementary to others. They do not want creators competing for sales.

Katie Donovan works for Union Studio. The company sells handmade products from local artists. Photo contributed by Katie Donovan.

Katie Donovan is one of Union Studio’s artists; she also happens to work there. She made her way to Union Studio after teaching drawing at Saint Louis University.

However, after landing a spot at Union Studio, Donovan finds that she likes to switch up her mediums and approach. She contributes a variety of work to the studio, ranging from larger prints, to greeting cards and even to Union Studio T-shirt designs.

“I really like having a variety [of styles]. I think it’s important for me as an artist to have different caps on at different times,” Donovan said.

She enjoys creating work that can be thought-provoking and serious, as well as pieces that are funny and lighthearted. Donovan said Union Studio gives her the space to do this.

One of her recent works, titled “Memory As Palimpsest,” is one of her more thought-provoking pieces. “Memory As Palimpsest” is a shadow box filled with hand-painted and cut paper. She was inspired by family members sharing memories of her, that she personally can not recall.

Union Studio features Donovan’s work at both locations whenever the empty spaces fit the art. You can also find her art on Union Studio’s website.

Editor’s note: This article is one part of a bigger project focusing on St. Louis artists. You can follow the project on Instagram (@thestlartscene) or visit their site here.

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Grace Walker
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