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A Leesburg hub for local artists

Clay and Metal Loft co-founders Ann Andre left, and Amy Manson, right, aim to serve as a creative hub for artists in Leesburg.
Two local artists – who are also friends and now business partners – have teamed up to launch a creative new studio, gallery and classroom space called The Clay and Metal Loft in Leesburg.

Amy Manson and Ann Andre met several years ago when Andre took a pottery class in Manson's studio. They connected as friends and worked together on the Western Loudoun Art Studio Tour.

When ArtSquare closed in Leesburg, they realized it left a void for the local art community and began developing a business plan.

“We wanted to create a model of working studios, gallery space and classroom space to encourage participation,” Andre said. “It's really fun how well we get along and have the same philosophy,” she added.

After searching for two years, they found a 2,300-square-foot space located at 27 Fairfax St. in the Virginia Village Shopping Center as “the perfect place” for their dream studio.

Manson – who is a ceramic artist and potter – and Andre, a goldsmith/jeweler, plan to host clay and jewelry making classes, Ladies' Night art events, team building classes, Girl Scout classes, summer camp programming and more, for all levels of interest.

While they have only been open for a month, so far the response has been “wonderful,” Manson said.

“Our ladies nights are already booking through March,” she said. “People are really looking for ways to experience art.”

Manson and Andre are creating summer camps and classes for students of all ages in mediums such as painting, pottery and sculpture.

“Ann has a background in teaching and science and we are integrating STEAM – STEM with arts component – into our plans,” Manson said.

“Our mission is to help every artist discover and express their hidden and vibrant talents by appreciating and creating art. Participation in art significantly improves a child's learning and development potential while adults enjoy a palpable reduction in stress from the sheer fun of being creative,” Andre said.

They look forward to serving as an art hub in Leesburg and invite the community to a ribbon cutting event and open house event on Feb. 2 from 6-9 p.m.

“So far the community has responded really well. I didn't think we would be where we are now only four weeks into this. People want to try new things and it's really fun,” Andre said.

For more information, visit http://www.theclayandmetalloft.com.

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