If you were view Little Space Studio’s (LSS)
original plans for their first two years, founder Alysha White would have have simply called it a workshop space.
“It’s one thing to just host a workshop –– it’s another thing to design a space where people can just come in and host their own workshops, or host their own meetings or events,” says White. “We thought it was so clean-cut to be say, ‘Here’s your workshop space, here’s where you actually do your work, here’s your desk,’ but there’s so much grey area there.”
“We were so surprised at how many different ways we would have a meetup and how many different ways we could host a workshop. And we’re not scared of that, but it does take a lot of consideration –– everything from liability to someone’s comfort level, to just making sure the space is readily available for anyone. There’s just so much design and thought and consideration in that process, that we just had no idea.”
Reflecting on how the city has changed over time and how the population engages with these changes, has also been one of the catalysts for how LSS would approach their work.
“I feel like two years ago, there was already this energy to try to change the organic community,” says White. “You saw the energy there, but you didn’t see a lot of that cross-pollination or bridge-building happening, and I still think we struggle with that.”
So, as many businesses tend to do, LSS has shifted its purpose of being more exact in how they want to serve the creative
community of Grand Rapids.
Since opening its doors in 2016 at 401 Hall St., their team has migrated to 111 Division Ave S. –– a multi-level, industrial-like space with more than enough room to dream big. By the end of the summer, the first floor will be open for use by members and the general public, where the most engagement will incur through co-working, programming, and the general opportunity for connecting with others. A fully-functioning sound studio will be installed, which White says will allow guest podcasters and guest broadcasters to engage with their space.
Reconstruction of the third floor will follow after, where various conference rooms and studios will be located.
Although there will be an emphasis on the visual appeal and resources the space will offer to its patrons, a special focus will be placed on allowing a diverse crowd of people to find their niche at LSS. Simple things, White explains, from integrating arts and technology into their programming, to providing a choice in snacks between ramen noodles and gluten-free muffins, are humanistic details that have pulled the variety of people who have participated in the space to continuously return.
“I’m hoping that LSS becomes a go-to space in the Grand Rapids community to connect with whatever industry they’re in,” says White. “We’re not industry specific, but we are specific to the mindset of, ‘I am a creative person, this is how I define myself,’ and whether that is through coping, painting, or anything else, we want people to feel like they can get the beat of Grand Rapids [by] coming to our space.”
Photos courtesy Little Space Studio.