When Ryan Schimmel and a couple of equally bored buddies, Josh and Daniel, got together in 2011 and began to dream out loud of what might re-juice their personal engines and provide a needed service at the same time, they wound up with a model that would create an attractive and affordable working environment for artists of all types and skill levels.  A couple of years later, that idea is realized at Fort Houston, located in South Nashville in an old warehouse and boasting some 50 artist members.  It’s a new take on co-working space.  Not quite a co-op, the concept involves monthly dues which are determined by how much of the facility you use.  There’s a large common room with a multitude of work tables, a bike repair room, wood shop, and screen printing shop.  The group is currently adding a photography studio and darkroom.  For an additional fee, you can have your own worktable (called a Home Base) in the community room.   As a member, you can elect to hold classes and teach in the facility, sharing the instruction fees with the Fort.  As you might imagine, all sorts of collaboration happens as members meet each other and explore ideas.  Most employees are either past or current members.  Ryan and his partners have growth in mind.  The current 10,000 square feet is probably 10 times the size of the original shop at Cummins Station but a fraction of what they think is possible.  Ideas that might involve music studios or office space are getting tossed around.  This is a dynamic environment, the energy level palpable and catching.

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