The possibilities are nearly endless in a room constructed of white brick walls and flooded with natural light. An amorphous blank slate is exactly what Flat 51 aimed to create with their recently opened space at 1108 City Park Ave. in German Village.
Friends, photographers and former coworkers Jen Brown and Chelsie Casagrande are the keepers of the space. While working together, the pair immediately bonded over their love of being behind the lens and began sharing ideas like, “Wouldn’t it be so awesome to get a cool studio space Downtown, something industrial with great light that we could use for indoor shoots,” Brown says.
The two kept in touch across job changes, and a lunch sealed the deal that it was time to take things from idea to reality. Brown and Casagrande were inspired by the brick walls and natural light of the Wolf’s Ridge Brewing Tap Room, and were determined to find something similar for themselves.
Brown connected with a realtor friend in January with their wish list: great lighting and close to Downtown. He responded that he had the perfect spot.
The second floor space of the German Village building has had many lives over the years, initially built as a shoe factory in the 1800s, and more recently a political field office. Green carpet and abandoned furniture were gutted and replaced with white painted brick walls and a subtle wood floor.
“It’s an empty space…that’s the best part about it,” Casagrande says.
And the pair intend to keep it that way. While they initially had photography in mind, Flat 51 is ready to take on all sorts of events, from professional workshops and meetings, to brides getting ready for their big day, to parties, pre-games and more. It’s reflected in the name as well. They chose ‘flat’ instead of ‘studio’ to keep the interpretation open, and 51 because the deal was signed on May 1 of 2017.
The 40-capacity venue can be rented by the hour for $60, half day (four hours) for $200, and full day for $350. Affordability is just one of the factors that’s made Flat 51 attractive to potential renters. The building has an attached parking lot with free spots for visitors – a rarity in a central neighborhood like German Village.
Flat 51 is now taking reservations. More information can be found at flat51.com.
All photos by Susan Post.