Today we’d like to introduce you to Denise Moore.
Denise, we appreciate you taking the time to share your story with us today. Where does your story begin?
Starting ZAB Cultural Collective was a labor of love. I was an illustrator but I had given up seriously creating art back in the early 1990s after I had met my future husband and started a family along with investing in real estate and opening my first brick-and-mortar rental hall business, I would do a few projects here and there but thought that I didn’t have the time to seriously pursue art anymore. Now, in hindsight, I know that that was ridiculous and that I should have made time for it.
Now that my children are adults, I wanted to make another go of it. We had purchased the commercial building that would become ZAB back in 2003 at a foreclosure auction thinking that it would be a cool art gallery someday. When we purchased it there were some circumstances that made us want to wait to develop it. So, we put all of our energy into our rental hall business.
In 2017 we decided to sell off our commercial buildings. We put both of our buildings on the market at the same time. Our rental hall sold but the E. Warren building did not. When the for-sale listing expired we decided to just hold on to the building. I would use it as my art studio The perfect excuse to get back into art! I was so excited at the prospect. With my kids grown and my husband about to retire, I would have the time to finally do it! To fill the hole that was in my heart for 30+ years! I would have a retail space where all kinds of art can be sold and I would share the space with other creatives so it would also be a coworking space! I was determined to make it work!
After doing all the logistics and renovating stressing laughing and crying, I was ready to open. I was so happy to be supported by many people in the community who loved the whole idea of ZAB Cultural Collective! On August 24th, 2019 we had our grand opening of ZAB! I was so amazed at the turnout! About a month before I had an open house and invited the community to come out just to see what we were up to. I think a total of 3 people showed up and I knew 2 of them lol! So, my expectations weren’t very high. I thought that if 4 people came out I’d think of it as a success.
To my surprise, quite a few people came out! So many that I stopped counting! Many of them were artists that lived in the area. It was a great day and I was so thankful that they believed in the concept of ZAB!
I was so happy! I had members for the shared workspace and I was making art again. I had sold a few pieces of my own art along with the work of our other artists! We were having art shows and events. We were puttering along and then COVID hit! We were only open for a little over 6 months before it closed everything down.
After closing down for 16 months and attempting to reopen and then reclosing a number of times we a hopefully staying open this time! Things are slowly starting to pick up again after having slowed down quite a bit since the onset of COVID. I can’t wait for what the future holds and I’m so excited to continue the journey!
Alright, so let’s dig a little deeper into the story – has it been an easy path overall, and if not, what were the challenges you’ve had to overcome?
The road has NOT been smooth. Our biggest obstacle by far has been COVID. It hit right when we were gaining momentum and it stopped us in our tracks. It was like hitting a brick wall! It was devastating to ZAB. Thankfully we made it through with our health. We are slowly getting things back to normal.
Thanks for sharing that. So, maybe next you can tell us a bit more about your work?
I am the owner and manager of ZAB Cultural collective. A shared workspace for artists and creatives.
As a creative myself, I am a mixed-media artist known under the pseudonym Kiyomi Spirit. I specialize in illustration, and acrylic painting. I was an illustrator in my youth and I fell in love with painting a few years ago just before I opened ZAB. I started painting on a dare from my daughter actually. She was always saying I was afraid of a paintbrush because I thought I could only control a pencil. She was right. I fell in love with painting and now it’s another part of my artistic expression.
I am most proud of is nowadays I’m not afraid to tackle new things. One example is that I’ve always admired muralists. For years I’d always wondered how it would feel to do one. This year I decided that I’m going to try to make a mural myself. Even though most muralists are young males and not middle-aged women, I decided that I have nothing to lose. I always start with the idea that if I mess up, I can paint over it. I have now done three murals on the ZAB building and I’m now working on a rather large one that will be the backdrop to our outdoor stage. I’ve found that I love doing it.
I’m not sure what sets me apart from others but I do know that there’s a sense of urgency I guess to “catch up” to what I have denied myself over most of my adult life. I guess I think of the present as my time to be creative, make my mistakes and grow as an artist.
What matters most to you? Why?
Joy. That everything I do in my business, every project I do in the community, and every piece of art I make brings joy to someone.
- Coworking designated desk membership $130 per month
- Coworking floating desk membership $50 per month
- Consignment on artwork sold 25% commission
- Event space rental for creative events $100 per hour.
- Drop-in hot desk day pass $10 per day
- Website: www.zabcultural.com
- Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/zab_cultural_collective/
- Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/ZABCCCoworking
- Twitter: https://twitter.com/CulturalZab
Dave Bush Photography