Nonprofit art studio seeks new home

Simply Jane/ArtAble
Simply Jane/ArtAble, a nonprofit all-abilities art studio, is leaving its Diamond Lake home in late October. Photos by Andrew Hazzard

Jane Elias has spent the last decade creating a soothing, inspirational environment at her art therapy studio at 54th & Nicollet, but now she finds herself looking for a new canvas to cover.

Simply Jane/ArtAble will be moving out of its Diamond Lake neighborhood home at the end of October, Elias said. The building’s owner wants the space back and Elias cannot renew her lease. Leaving the studio’s home of 10 years is unfortunate, she said, but Elias trusts that she can manufacture a suitable home wherever the real estate hunt takes her.

“I’m not attached to physical things because I can always recreate something,” she said.

A muralist by trade, Elias founded Simply Jane/ArtAble in 2007 at 48th & Nicollet as a drop-in painting studio that served clients of all abilities, working with many organizations that serve people with disabilities. In 2012, she converted the business to a nonprofit. Today it serves people with and without disabilities and each year reaches about 10,000 artists through partner organizations, parties, summer camps, after-school programs and drop-in painting sessions. Most of what she does is art therapy.

Simply Jane
Jane Elias founded the studio in 2007 and converted it into a nonprofit in 2012.

Elias is highly sensitive to her environment, and sought to create a studio with natural light, bright surfaces and a soothing atmosphere. Flowers, butterflies and peace signs line the floors and walls.

While she’s unsure where the studio will go next, she has no plans to stop and would like to remain in the area.

“I would love to stay in Southwest Minneapolis; it’s a great community and it’s very accessible,” said Elias, who lives in Linden Hills.

People in the community have been very kind, she said. Heartfelt, an arts and crafts store in Linden Hills, has offered her some temporary space if needed. Ultimately, she’d like to buy her own space for the new location.

The pandemic has altered operations for Simply Jane/ArtAble. It has to do some of its regular painting classes via Zoom, and typical Paint Pizza Parties, where individuals of varying abilities gather for food and art, have been postponed. But all of the 13 weeks of summer camp were full this year, Elias said, taking advantage of the 2,300-square-foot studio and large outdoor space. She’s continued to host birthday parties and is beginning socially distanced after-school programming.

For now, Elias is selling most of the furniture and gear at the studio in a large moving sale. Chairs, desks, tables, paint shirts and brushes are all available. Wherever she ends up, it’ll be a new beginning.

“I’m just going to start over,” she said.

Simply Jane/ArtAble

5411 Nicollet Ave. S.

simply jane brushes
Chairs, desks, tables, paint shirts and brushes are being sold in a moving sale.