Candice Alexander said she always had a dream of making a living as an artist. Once a dream — now a reality — Alexander Art Studio was first founded in October 2002 with a chalk board at Central School Arts and Humanities Center. (Michelle Higginbotham / American Press)
Last Modified: Tuesday, August 21, 2012 12:12 PM
Candice Alexander said she always had a dream of making a living as an artist.
“I always knew that I never ever wanted a 9-to-5 job, and I have never had one,” Alexander said. “With that being said, I’ve slept in parking lots, in vans, in campgrounds, I’ve taken solar showers in the woods ... in tents. I’ve starved on the streets of New Orleans in Jackson Square, and I’ve tunneled into the city of New York selling my work in front of the Met Museum. None of this was easy, but when you are caught up and determined and aware of what you love to do — anything is possible.”
Once a dream — now a reality — Alexander Art Studio was first founded in October 2002 with a chalk board at Central School Arts and Humanities Center.
“I have grown there for 1/3 of my life, nearly 11 years,” Alexander said. “The Central School building is the main reason I stayed put in Lake Charles. There is a charm that will always live in me. It has been my hub forever it seems and in no way will I ever leave it.”
Since founding Alexander Art Studio, she traveled across the country “starving to make and create art,” and she was able to make a living. “I left, thinking Lake Charles didn’t have much to offer me,” she said. “In 2007, I came back and found exactly what I was searching for the entire time — my roots, my culture, my fans, my supporters, my people and my passion — a community and a state that embraced all that I was doing.”
As a small business, Alexander Art Studio claimed a loss for five years. “These days I no longer starve — I’m just hungry,” Alexander said.
Alexander, who is known for her fleur de lis artwork, has moved her business to downtown Ryan Street in the Charleston Hotel.
“I consider what I do half-art, half-business,” she said. “There are many artists that are not aware that half of it is truly business, management, marketing and organization. I’ve always been a hustler. Selling art makes me feel good, makes me want to make more because I know I am satisfying someone’s soul with what I love to do.”
She now plans on doing everything she has dreamed of for the last decade.
“I’ve always wanted to pursue my passion for sculpture,” Alexander said. “I see several benches, and in between them, I see large sculptures lining downtown Ryan Street. This would make people slow down, look at the sky, take deep breaths, stop. They would sit, they would think, they would walk.”
Alexander imagines tourists coming from all over to see the amazing pieces lining downtown Lake Charles.
“It’s time to do this, and now with my entire life and passion resting in the Charleston Hotel, it will happen,” she said.
Alexander plans on having art lessons, visiting artist shows, lectures, parties and wine tastings.
“I plan on doing what downtown has been wanting and missing this entire time,” Alexander said.
Art feeds the soul, she said.
“We need a festival pavilion, and we need a covered parking lot,” she said. “I’ve been thinking that without this — there is really no place to have a festival rain or shine, outdoors that is.”
Needless to say, Alexander has big plans for downtown Lake Charles.
“The Charleston Hotel is a great location, in my opinion, to start a great community project mural,” Alexander said. “I can’t say that this will be the location of something of such greatness, but I think it would be perfect considering it is pretty much the entrance or exit to downtown.”
She thinks doing something like a mural would be great for the Lake Charles economy.
“It would bring a hype and awesomeness,” she said. “The people would come, they would stay. They would shop — and the story keeps going.”
For the past few months, Alexander has been overwhelmed with her growing business and the lack of space she had.
“Three weeks ago, I remember one morning — just asking for something awesome to happen,” she said. “I didn’t list details. I wasn’t too concerned with what it would look like. I just really wanted clarity and something larger than myself made that happen. And for that — I am completely grateful and feel blessed.”
The grand opening for Alexander Art Studio at its new location downtown is Friday and Saturday, Sept. 14-15. There will be a soft opening Friday from 5 p.m. to midnight, and then Saturday from 2 p.m. to midnight. Regular store hours are 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Monday through Friday, and it’s open for business.