Whether it’s a music studio, an art studio, a conservatory dedicated to musical performances or lectures by local artists, builders are embracing educational and experiential arts amenities to engage residents. Condo and townhome amenities in communities as varied as high-rise condos in Chicago and Miami and mountain resorts in North Carolina are solving the dilemma for people who would love the space to test their pottery making skills without the mess or want to practice the electric guitar without driving their family crazy. Events that incorporate music or art within a community can bring neighbors together in new ways, too.
According to a 2018 study by Americans for the Arts, 72 percent believe the arts unify their community and 81 percent of people say the arts are a positive experience in a troubled world.
“Offering space for creativity is one way we can stand out from the crowd,” says Linda Kozloski, creative design director at Lendlease, developer of Cirrus, a 47-story condominium overlooking Lake Michigan in Chicago. “Providing space for music and art is also another way to make it easer for people to live in a smaller space, similar to offering a workspace and a library.”
Making Music and Art
The Cirrus condo on N. Harbor Dr. in Chicago will share some amenities with the adjacent 37-story Cascade rental tower, which is also under development by Lendlease, including a “maker’s space” and a “jam room.” Both those music and art amenities were inspired by similar spaces at the Cooper, an existing Lendlease rental community.
“The ‘jam room’ at Cirrus will include instruments on display that can be used by residents, such as an electric guitar with amps and a keyboard, along with karaoke equipment, vinyl records and a turntable,” says Kozloski. “Everything is on display, so it’s a cool space even when someone is just using it as a place to hang out with friends.”
The Cirrus’ ‘jam room’ will also have drums and space for a separate screening room and listening lounge to allow some residents to play instruments while others listen to music.
The ‘maker’s space’ is a room where people will be able to do art projects, crafts and wrap presents, says Kozloski.
“We will provide easels, paint, a sewing machine, even wrapping paper,” she says. “We’ll also provide programming such as painting parties and group activities and residents will be able to reserve the space for private events.”
At the Cooper, where these amenities are already in place, Kozloski says the rooms are always busy with kids and adults making music and doing crafts and art projects together.
At 1000M, a luxury condo under development on Michigan Ave. in Chicago, arts amenities are available to both children and adults and an art collection will be installed in the building when it’s complete.
“It was important to us to not only pay homage to our cultural location, but also provide our future residents with amenities that fulfill their passions for the arts,” says Jordan Karlik, principal at JK Equities, co-developer of 1000M.
Amenities at 1000M include a sound studio and a conservatory.
“The sound studio is where residents will be able to practice music and conduct production in a soundproofed space,” says Karlik. “The beautiful conservatory on the 72nd floor, which duals as a wine room, is a dedicated space for musical performances and small art exhibits with uninterrupted views of Lake Michigan and Grant Park.”
Art for Wellness
At the Ritz-Carlton Residences, Miami Beach, condo owners have private access to an art studio designed by Italian architect and designer Piero Lissoni in collaboration with Miami-based artist Tatiana Blanco.
“This amenity gives owners an opportunity to unwind through sculpture, painting, ceramics, beadwork and structured art classes,” says Ricardo Dunin, founding partner of Lionheart Capital, developer of the condo. “The art studio features a wall that imitates northern-facing natural light, which is optimum for art. Additionally, the space will be home to a library filled with art books for inspiration.”
Many buyers in the Ritz-Carlton Residences are art collectors or amateur artists, says Dunin, who appreciate having this amenity.
“We’ve seen huge support from residents with families as they see it as a constructive outlet for family bonding,” says Dunin.
For now, the art studio is unique to the Ritz-Carlton Residences in Miami Beach, but Dunin says they may replicate the space as part of an expanded focus on therapeutic and wellness amenities.
“The studio was created to showcase that art can be as therapeutic and accessible as a fitness center workout or a relaxing afternoon at the residence pool,” says Dunin. “We came up with this idea pretty organically. Tatiana Blanco is a personal friend of the development team for The Residences and one day she divulged that she has always kept a blank canvas at her home as an outlet for houseguests to express themselves. That conversation turned into the perfect opportunity for us to invest and create this special space for the luxury development that has never been done before.”
Art in Harmony With Nature
At Balsam Mountain Preserve in Sylva, N.C., a community 40 miles west of Asheville, outdoor amenities such as hiking paths, camping facilities and a golf course are prime features that attract residents. The community’s nonprofit educational and conservation organization, the Balsam Mountain Trust, also includes a cultural arts program with includes an artist-in-residence program.
“We invite artists from around the country to spend a week at Balsam Mountain and we ask them to do a public presentation at one of our ‘Trust Talks’ evenings to share their art skills,” says Michael Skinner, executive director of the Balsam Mountain Trust. “We ask them to donate a piece of art equivalent to the value of their stay and we encourage them to bring artwork with them to sell, too.”
Some of the artists offer to teach classes to both adults and children who are residents at Balsam Mountain Trust, Skinner says. Local artists also occasionally teach classes, such as a local professor who taught a class blending art, nature and science.
“Many artists are inspired by the nature in the area,” says Skinner. “One artist recently toured our property taking photos for future paintings.”
A local pottery studio recently worked with residents of Balsam Mountain to sculpt and paint simple, nature-inspired designs for display in the Nature Center’s gardens and discovery walk.In the Nature Center,children and adults can make quilt squares about nature that are then displayed in the center. Skinner says they hope to eventually create a dedicated space to make it easier for residents to do art projects, perhaps even with a kiln for pottery. As communities continue to look for ways to enhance the lives of their residents, expect to see more of them embrace creative amenities for every generation to enjoy.
Michele Lerner is an award-winning freelance writer, editor and author who has been writing about real estate, personal finance and business topics for more than two decades.