The Artdogs Studios building consists of four floors. There is a storefront gallery on the street level, day-studio spaces on the two middle floors, and a top floor loft-style residence.
The Artdogs Studios facility was designed to be flexible. The studio and residency spaces were created with the intent of accommodating many different art disciplines.
Each studio is unique, but every studio comes with heat, electricity, and free wifi access. Some studios have their own restroom, while shared restrooms and sinks are conveniently close to others. The facility provides exhibition areas with track lighting and a communal kitchen. In addition there is a tool closet with tools that can be borrowed for in-house use.
Like most buildings in Maine downtown's, 277 Water Street has had a rich history and has been a vital part of the Gardiner downtown. It started as a dry goods store in 1864. Over the years it has housed a confectionery (1872), a music store (1886), millinery (1895), shoe store (1909), clothing store (1920), and more. The building survived the Gardiner fire of 1888 and the flood of 1987.
The front of the building faces the main street and is across from Johnson Park and Johnson Hall Theatre. The back of the building has ample parking and a view of the Kennebec River and the Cobbosseecontee (Cobbossee) Stream, the largest coastal watershed in Maine. During the spring-thaw water from the Kennebec may rise. If it gets to 14' it causes the Cobbosee to breach its banks... We check on the status with a river-cam.
What’s in a name?
The name ARTDOGS was inspired by a verbal folly in graduate school and the growing awareness of how hard artists work. When artmaking success was evident through exhibitions, sales and awards it was common to say that the art gods were smiling favorably. It did not take long to realize that success in art was sporadic, difficult to maintain, and the result of endless hard work. The expression working like a dog become more appropriate for a career as an artist. So the art gods became art dogs.