How the owner of Gear Factory turned a 60,000 square foot factory into an artistic oasis
Get the latest Syracuse news delivered straight to your inbox.
Subscribe to our newsletter here.
Rick Destito, owner and founder of The Gear Factory, has wanted to develop a sort of artistic oasis since discovering the building in 2002 and purchasing it in 2005, he said.
After purchasing the old 60,000-square-foot factory for $ 144,000, Destito – with help from the Near Westside Initiative – received a state grant that he used to turn the building into a hub. for artists. The Gear Factory, located at 200 S. Geddes Street, has studios where artists can rent both work space and living / working space.
“While other cities are linked to pre-established artistic communities,” the Gear Factory website read, “Syracuse has the luxury of being on the rise, teeming with bubbling opportunities and a wide range. horizon open to progressive minds ready to seize ”
Occupying five floors, The Gear Factory contains 18 music studios located in the basement of the building and two floors of live workspaces on the fourth and fifth floors. The first floor has more artist studios, with a wood and metal shop on the second floor. The third floor is currently being transformed into 30 additional studios for different types of artists.
The Gear Factory is home to all kinds of artists, including tattoo artists, musicians, and photographers. Approximately 40 to 45 people live in The Gear Factory on the fourth and fifth residential floors, which include a common area, a kitchen area, and individual bathrooms.
Nick Feeley, graduated from Syracuse University in 2016, is an abstract artist, director of the A Lovely Time music festival and lives at The Gear Factory. Feeley moved into the building after living in northern Syracuse. He had friends at the Factory but had never considered it a possibility for himself.
“He bought a century-old factory building… was in disrepair and turned it into an artists’ paradise,” Feeley said. “So in a way he’s an artist. He developed this building into something that has never been before.
Feeley’s music festival, A Lovely Time, is held in July in Turin, New York, in the Adirondacks. Past musical acts have included groups The Black River and BadHand. There is skate at the festival, as well as various workshops such as glassblowing, which participants can participate in. But, due to the pandemic, Feeley canceled the festival’s third year scheduled for June 2020. But meanwhile, he and his team have added to their meeting place at Snow Ridge Ski Resort.
(The Gear Factory) was in disrepair and made it an artists’ paradise
Nick Feely, director of the ‘A Lovely Time’ music festival
Feeley used his space at The Gear Factory to create pieces for his music festival, like a modular stage, and bring them to location in a truck.
Andy Padula, founder of lifestyle brand Boho Hobo, Bindlism Podcast and Bindle Tea, moved into The Gear Factory in December 2019. The freedom to live there and the collaborative nature of the space are what set him apart. makes it so special, said Padula. .
“If you’re working on a carpentry project today, you can go talk to someone who lives there who is a carpenter and pick their brain and maybe use some of their tools,” Padula said. “The idea behind it was that it’s kind of like a commune now.”
The Boho founder added that he loves the ingenuity of The Gear Factory, because being surrounded by hundreds of artists lends itself to being very useful.
Artist Drew Shoup, co-owner of Flower Skate Shop, said the community aspect is what makes it the best place to live as an artist.
“It’s crazy to say, but it’s stupid to be fair with other people doing similar things,” Shoup said. “Obviously a lot of us do it and love it in a different way, but it’s cool to be like, just around a bunch of people doing stuff. “
Posted on September 20, 2021 at 12:10 am