STARworks Center for Creative Enterprise
The project calls for transforming a 184,000-square-foot, 80-year-old textile mill into an arts and crafts incubation center for artists, craftspeople, and crafts-related businesses. The original two-story brick building served as an agricultural and mechanical trade school until 1950. When the Russell family bought the property and began adding buildings for textile manufacturing, the textile operations ceased in the late 1990s. Starworks, a non-profit agency devoted to growing and developing creative enterprises, then acquired the mill. The Starworks program requirements include a gallery, outdoor entertainment pavilion, indoor performing arts center, classroom spaces, a restaurant, business offices, and arts and crafts studios, ranging in size from 1500 to 5000 square feet. The owners hope the facility will encourage artists and craftspeople to remain in the community, which is part of the seven-county Yadkin-Pee Dee Lake Project.
The architectural feasibility study and master plan are completed. We have assisted in the renovation of 40,000 square feet of space. Our intent is to provide spacious and well-lighted studio workspaces, maintaining as much of the historic texture of the old textile mill as possible. The building now houses a cutting edge glassmaking studio, a clay fabrication studio, a ceramics supply house, a geothermal and renewable energy contractor, and a community farm that’s raising organic meats and vegetables. In 2012 our goal is to uncover the original ca. 1900 two-story school building that is the kernel of Starworks, converting it for use as the entrance lobby and administrative offices. For more information: www.starworksnc.org.