Words fail me when it comes to describing my time at TOOLRY. It all happened so fast and it was such a growing experience. There are a lot of things that I miss about Virginia, but aside from people, one of the few institutions that causes my heart to ache in it's absence is TOOLRY (and of course Rivermont Pizza).
I found out about TOOLRY in early June. They followed me on Instagram. I liked their refrigerator in their kitchen. I had no clue what TOOLRY was at the time and I don't think they'd really opened their doors yet. Once I realized what TOOLRY was and what it would mean for our community in Lynchburg, I decided to check it out. Tucker and I visited for First Friday and the next week our photo was on their blog.
I was a new photographer and to me at that point I assumed TOOLRY was a studio space. To make a long story short in the next month I reached out to Noah to see if I could rent the place to do some photos at 7am in the morning, and he said yes. Within a few weeks of this I was sitting in Noah's living room for dinner, with no clue as to why. Within a week I began working at TOOLRY as the Community Manager. For the next 5 months I made coffee, facilitated day passes and tours, answered every person who wandered in off the street's questions, put together art shows and concerts, and cooked breakfast a time or two.
That's just the beginning of the story though. TOOLRY would have been an active part of my experience in Lynchburg because I was a budding creative and I knew that the best way to grow in that creativity was to seek out collaboration. I knew that I couldn't do it alone. TOOLRY provided me with so many opportunities to grow as a photographer and as a human being. We experienced loss, triumph, celebration, happiness and even a silent rave together as a community. There's a lot of power and a lot of stretching that happens when you do things together, and I think that's something that is incredibly important to the creative process, no matter where you are in it.
This is the part where I'll probably get sappy because I have it outlined that I want to talk about what everyone taught me. One of the most spectacular things about a co-working space is that you get to work with people who are invested in their art-- whether thats yoga, photography, oil pantings, mixed media, graphic design, or work for a non-profit. These people are dedicated to it. They live it too. The people that I met through TOOLRY were some of the best humans in the whole world. I'm confident of that. I shared so many growing moments with them. I cried in front of them. I laughed with them. I mourned the passing of a friend with them. I figured out who I was as a photographer (at least for now) because of the influence of their community in my life.
TOOLRY exists to be a collaborative workspace and community of talented creatives and artists in Lynchburg. A place for you to create and explore your art, craft or passion, while colliding and building community with like-minded people. They do this through memberships, collaborations, workshops, and gatherings. Though all parts are valuable, I got the most out of my membership at TOOLRY. If you are a full time creative in any capacity - the ARTIST or LITE membership would be ideal for you. A lot of feedback we've gotten in the past was that people wanted to get involved and be members, but they worked a 9-5 during the week, and they didn't need multiple day options for membership. Well TOOLRY has heard your feedback-- last week they launched a new COMMUNITY membership option that is perfect for any creative in any capacity in Lynchburg, VA. You can be involved in what's going on at TOOLRY, while getting connected with local creatives and drinking tons of French press coffee. Check it out and get involved. There are a ton of amazing things going on at TOOLRY, and you could make it that much better.
If you live in Lynchburg, Virginia or the surrounding communities you should check it out! Here's a complimentary day pass! Go spend the day with some creative folks and get some work done!