Serenity is defined as the state of being calm.
The new Serenity Studios at 1331 Yale St. is just that — calm, peaceful and a place to heal and “experience a personal renaissance of the soul,” says owner Donna Layfield.
Layfield is the artist and visionary behind Serenity Studios, opened in November 2018. The studio is in a recently restored Heights bungalow and offers studio space for artists by the hour, day, week and up to a month.
Classroom space is available in the former dining room. Out back is a wooden cabin equipped with a potter’s wheel and large kiln available to rent as well.
A New Orleans native, Layfield has an artistic background. For the five years prior to realizing her dream, she managed a gift and monogramming boutique. She also is enrolled online with Arizona State University working on her degree in integrative health.
At an artist reception Layfield hosted last weekend, I asked how she came up with this unique twist on artist studios and was touched by her story.
AV: Tell us how Serenity Studios came about.
DL: “I met my darling friend Vanessa in 2013 when she had just purchased the boutique and needed help in the shop. We quickly bonded and became like sisters, sharing all of our highs and lows and things in between. A few months after I began working there she was diagnosed with stage 3 breast cancer, and they later determined it was actually stage 4 metastasized. She battled the cancer and other health issues off and on during the years I managed the store for her. Early in 2018, the cancer came back with a vengeance and we lost her at the end of May. Before she died, one of our final conversations, she told me not to give up on school or my dream of the studios.”
AV: Has Serenity Studios always been a passion of yours?
DL: “Having felt the frustration of needing studio space and a sense of community as an artist, the idea came to me a few years ago. It developed along the way from just studios to flexibly rentable and affordable studios, and then I wanted it to be a center of learning and healing. Combining the art classes and holistic workshops and offering people a chance to heal themselves in every aspect, and experience a personal renaissance of the soul. So we offer art classes but also meditation and yoga and next month a vegan chef will be doing some cooking classes as well.”
The space is as charming as any home one might find in the Heights, except Layfield has filled it with art from Houston artists, all for sale at a modest commission.
Artists and creatives take note, because this studio space has definitely got a unique twist on the vast studio landscape here in Houston.
This Saturday, March 23, in addition to the weekly open house, Serenity Studios will host a Spring Art and Artisan Market, inside and out from noon-8 p.m. Get details on Facebook @serenityartstudios and more information on studio rentals and available workshops at serenityartstudiostx.com.
Cohen is an artist and founder of First Saturday Arts Market and the Market at Sawyer Yards. Find him at ArtValet.com.