Wichita’s former Metro-Boulevard Alternative High School is re-opening Friday as an art gallery and studio space.
The new Studio School has 16 art studios, a meeting space, an art gallery and a commercial kitchen.
Owner Logan Pajunen purchased the building, near Grove and Lincoln in south Wichita, last year from Wichita Public Schools. The district closed Metro-Boulevard Alternative High School, which had also once been Willard Elementary, in 2012.
Pajunen says he wanted to create a place for artists that was affordable, but still adjacent to downtown Wichita and the Commerce Street art district.
"I'm hoping I can be complementary to that," he says, "so that people who want to have exciting, fun studios don't have to go out to Andover, or Augusta, or Derby, or a spare bedroom in their home. They can still stay in the city where the energy is and be close to all that, but not have to spend a fortune."
Pajunen says the new space maintains the character of the building, as well as the role it once played in the community.
“I think this is a really welcome use for a school," he says. "It was a neighborhood anchor when it was in operation first as an elementary and then as a high school, and I hope to for it to be not only a neighborhood but a city anchor when I’m done with it.”
Studio School will be open for tours and demonstrations as part of Final Friday.