The St. Andrews Center is a multicultural hub providing space for creatives of all kinds, whose passions are found in art and cultivating community. Terry Davis, the St. Andrews center Building manager, figured out how to lease the space for an affordable price offering artists an opportunity to continue creating and expand their community with surrounding tenets.
In 2015, Davis began his role at the center as one of the building partners and quickly rose into a leadership position. After dedicating himself to the building’s cause and contributing to its improvement, he was named building manager in January 2019. Since then, he has continued to focus on his mission of providing collaborative spaces and cultivating creativity. By leasing out rooms to different individuals and non-profits for an affordable amount, the St. Andrews Center is growing in its diversity.
“It’s definitely a creative hub of anything that you are using imagination. That’s the big main thing selling your imagination,” explains Davis.
Davis encourages the tenants of the center, also known as building partners, to host events for the medium they have manifested in the space. This is in hopes of bringing people to the St. Andrews Center from all over Chattanooga, and as Davis would say “bringing the community to the creators.” Several of the building partners were drawn towards the center because they recognized the community that St. Andrews embodied.
Betsy Rice, building partner and artist, speaks highly of its impact on her life. As an encaustic artist, she produces pieces using torches and beeswax mixtures. This art is unfamiliar to many which Rice recognizes as an opportunity to take her unique space in the St. Andrews Center to create and connect with the local community.
“I just think there are so many things that it can offer and I love that it’s not growing too fast but I’m anxious for it to grow and get out there.”
Her art began in her garage and evolved into a means of getting to know people outside of her circle. She would open her garage door and invite in people from all walks of life, a tradition which has followed her to her space at the St. Andrew’s Center. She now hosts events teaching encaustic art to the public and has worked with anyone ranging from college students to beekeepers.
Beyond workspace demos such as Rices’ encaustic classes, the center hosts events such as gallery shows and art exhibits, as well as having programs such as ESL classes, English and Spanish AA meetings, etc. Offering a variety of events and programs works to accomplish the mission of building a strong community. The St. Andrews Center is growing and putting down roots, and the process is slow but good, according to Rice. Davis agrees that the gradual influx of artists is steadily increasing in the center and continuously does what he can to make the best use of the facility.
“I’m an art advocate. I want to be able to give people platforms to slowly build up until we can open it up even bigger,” explains Davis when describing his vision for the St. Andrews Center. As of now, the St. Andrews Center is open 24/7 to building partners, allowing them to come create whenever is most convenient. Davis hopes in the future that the center would be open to the general public. Plans to get to that point include renovations, diverse events, and inviting the surrounding community in.
The St. Andrew’s Center offers a unique environment for building connections and community on the basis of imagination. Recognizing the center’s potential and influence on the surrounding community, Davis continues to take steps towards drawing in new creators.
Meet the Storytellers
Alaura Robinson is a senior Communication major with a minor in Spanish. She is a staff photographer for the University Echo and pursues photojournalism both inside and outside of the classroom. Post-graduation, she aspires to earn her J.D. concentrating in copyright law. View more of her work on Instagram @alaurabri or contact her at email@example.com.
Margo Zani is a junior at The University of Tennessee at Chattanooga majoring in Communication with a minor in Psychology. She enjoys photojournalism and writing stories that portray people’s lives in an authentic way. Margo is passionate about developing deeper relationships with those around her in order to better tell their stories. She currently interns for The House Campus Ministry where she is able to develop that kind of relationship every day. Contact her at firstname.lastname@example.org
Jillian Stewart is a Junior at The University of Tennessee at Chattanooga studying Communication with a minor in Religion. She is passionate about telling others stories using visual media. She enjoys a good cup of coffee on a rainy day and true crime podcasts. Contact her at email@example.com.