Saturday, November 15, 2008

Fall Community Bike Rides were a SUCCESS!

The Fall Community Bike Rides concluded on Saturday, November 8th with a ride exploring the historic architecture of Old North St. Louis. Kids and adults alike braved the cold and biked around the neighborhood to see first hand the restoration going on all over the area.
We're thrilled that everyone has enjoyed the bike rides, and are looking forward to starting the rides back up in the Spring!

A BIG thank you to Americorps Rangers Allison, Louise, and Aaron, who led the rides every Saturday - you guys are awesome!

Thursday, November 13, 2008


We're hosting a sneak preview event of The Urban Studio Cafe. Due to limited space, this is an invitation-only event. As we're building momentum towards opening the Cafe, we wanted to invite a small group of local influencers to learn about our vision and the progress we've made throughout the last six months. We can't even begin to express how much we look forward to opening our doors wide to the public. But for now, the sneak preview is limited to a smaller audience. If you feel you should have received an invitation, send Liz Buerger a note:

Sunday, October 26, 2008

The Urban Studio Cafe WINS IdeaBounce!!!

The Urban Studio Cafe was selected as an Idea Bounce winner October 23rd!

IdeaBounce is a Skandalaris Center for Entrepreneurial Studies project that allows organizations, innovators, students, and the creatively-inclined to share innovative ideas that are related to social change. Ideas are first submitted online at A subset of the ideas are then selected to compete at an IdeaBounce event, where each individual or team is given two minutes to "bounce" an idea to the audience and a panel of judges. The judges select a winner based on the clarity of the idea, passion of the presenter, and the request for help.

On October 23rd, Urban Studio Project Manager Claire Wolff presented The Urban Studio Cafe concept to a group of peers and a panel of judges. The Urban Studio Cafe was selected as the winning social change idea for the evening, providing Claire with an opportunity to dine and chat with the panel of judges. Thanks, IdeaBounce!

In the next series of months, The Urban Studio Cafe will be competing in the Social Entrepreneurship and Innovation Competition, sponsored by the Skandalaris Center and YouthBridge Community Foundation. The winners of the competition walk away with a cash prize to help the idea become a reality.

We'll keep you posted...

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Speaking of bikes....

The Saturday Bike Rides have gotten off to a great start, and we're seeing more kids each week! While this is a great thing and we hope to see even more kids and adults in the future, we are using almost all of our kids-sized bikes already!

If you have a working bike that would fit a child aged 8 and up that you would be willing to donate, please contact Liz Buerger. You will receive a tax-write off for your donation!!

Monday, October 13, 2008

Community Bike Rides are Back!

The Urban Studio Cafe and Grace Hill are holding Saturday Bike Rides from October 4th-November 8th from 10am-12 pm! Led by Americorps Rangers, these rides travel down the Riverfront Trail, and each week we're going somewhere new!

We started off with a trip to the Mary Meachum Crossing to learn about the dangerous journey slaves made to escape to freedom. This past weekend, kids and adults alike biked down to the Arch and got to explore this amazing structure as well as the museum inside.

Everyone has had a great time, and there are still four more rides to go!
      October 18: Mississippi River Ecology
      October 25: Halloween Theme / Prairie Planting
      November 1: The Branch Street Trestle & McKinley Bridge
      November 8: Explore Old North St. Louis Architecture

Thursday, September 25, 2008

The Cafe is getting organized...with your help!

 Are you refurbishing your office? Cleaning out your garage?

The Urban Studio Cafe is looking for a two drawer, locking file cabinet!!! If you have one that you would be willing to donate to the Cafe, please contact Liz Buerger. You will receive a tax-write off for your donation!

elizabeth.buerger@gmail or (914) 552-0829 

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

A Trip Down Memory Lane

Digging around the archives, Executive Director Phil Valko found photos of a plastering class held at The Urban Studio in 2005:

Thanks to the hard work and enthusiasm of those students and plasterer Eric Aulbach, the walls of The Urban Studio Cafe have been transformed with the beautiful blue Venetian plaster you see today:

Monday, September 08, 2008

Calling all Volunteers!

Thanks to all of your help, our first volunteer day was a success! But there's still more to do, so this Saturday, September 13th, we're having another one! 

It will take place from 10am to 2pm and include painting, cleaning, making flower boxes (drilling experience helpful!), installing an air conditioner, and touching up the Urban Studio Mural.

Delicious Einstein Bagels will be provided! 

Please email Liz Buerger or Claire Wolff if you would like to help us this weekend:

Friday, August 29, 2008

The Urban Studio Cafe looks like!!

What a difference a bakery case makes!

After a generous donation of a bakery case by Kaldi's Coffee, the studio is finally beginning to resemble a cozy cafe. We are hoping to fully open late fall 2008.

In other exciting news, The Urban Studio Cafe will feature a bike blender!  Yes, you will be able to blend your own smoothie by peddling this fantastic vintage exercise bike, pictured below. Delicious AND healthy! Thanks to the Wash U Engineers without Borders group for creating this sweet machine!

Saturday, August 23, 2008

Infused with Energy!

Volunteers from the Wash U Leadership Through Service program whip the studio into shape!
Becca touches up the doorway-

After a reconstructing the sunflower mural, volunteers help relocate the masterpiece.

Painting, taping, sanding, cleaning

Digging out a hole for a street tree!

Framing photography from past programs-

The Studio Gets A Facelift!

Thanks to 30 Wash U student volunteers, the studio has a new sunny disposition and an optimistic outlook on Old North! Check out her transformation!! 

Bye-bye, magenta and mustard!

The Urban Studio... for ghosts

Optimistic yellow...


Thanks, Leadership Through Service!

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

We Need YOU!

Caption: the newly refinished Urban Studio floors

We are working fast and furious to prepare our storefront to open our social change cafe and we need volunteers!

We will have work days both Saturday and Sunday this weekend, August 23rd and 24th. We are most in need of folks willing to paint, help us resurrect this gorgeous mural, and remove one mean old stump to make room for a new street tree.

Please email Claire Wolff if you have time to donate this weekend. We'll provide the music and age appropriate drinks:

Friday, June 06, 2008

Brewing A Special Blend of Coffee and Social Change!

Thanks to everyone who came to the Urban Studio Cafe sneak preview on May 10!

Mid summer 2008, we'll be opening our doors on the weekends, serving drinks with a slice of social change. Our cafe is a social venture  that seeks to strengthen the sense of community by creating a social gathering space, providing jobs for area teens, showcasing the creativity of local creators, and producing income to fund other Urban Studio programs. This will be no small feat. We're off running, but we're going to need all the help we can get to make this project a success. Here is a list of some of our current needs. Any help is greatly appreciated!!
-Graphic design work
-Website development
-Certified Electrician
-Certified Plumber
-Volunteer tutoring program coordinator
-Metal worker to create a sign
-Grant writing
-Financial contributions!!!
-Additional tables and chairs
-Weekend volunteers 

Thursday, May 08, 2008

Introducing...The Urban Studio Cafe!

The Urban Studio is back from a winter hiatus and better than ever!  We are very excited about our newest venture, The Urban Studio Cafe!

The cafe seeks to foster a sense of community and creativity while providing a quality cup of joe. Revenue generated by the cafe will go towards funding future art programs for youth in the area. 

Although not open until Mid-summer, this Saturday, May 10th from 10 am to 4 pm, we offer you an exclusive sneak preview of our quirky, cozy coffee shop. The Urban Studio Cafe will be an official stop on the Old North St. Louis House and Community Tour, so hop on that trolley and check us out! Even if you don't participate in the House Tour, feel free to drop by, grab a delectable cup of Kaldi's coffee and learn more about the cafe and how you can help us be a successful social venture.  We are located in our studio space at 2815 N. 14th St. 

  Contact Phil or Claire at for more information.

What: Cafe Sneak Peak
When: Saturday, May 10 from 10am-4pm
Where: The Studio!
Who: People who like coffee 

Friday, January 04, 2008

The Urban Studio Fall Update

A quick update on The Urban Studio fall happenings:

The Urban Studio welcomed friends to view the work of the summer participants while enjoying creative drink specials and live music by Last To Show First To Go. Thanks to everyone who made the night truly smashing!
If you would like to be on our e-mail list for future events and fundraisers, please e-mail Phil Valko at

The Urban Studio Opens Its Doors to a Packed House for Gallery Fundraiser Night:

The Urban Studio also participated in Art Outside, the alternative art fair held at Schlafly's Bottleworks. We invited people young and old to get their hands dirty and draw their houses with charcoal, and adults answered questions about their community. These answers and house drawings will be assembled into a ticky-tacky town mural of St. Louis! We will, of course, keep you updated on the mural progress and whereabouts.

Artists proudly displaying their charcoal houses:

A young fair-goer works diligently on his masterpiece:

On November 2, The Linus Foundation hosted a benefit gala for The Urban Studio at the St. Louis Contemporary Art Gallery featuring an open bar, a live band, and amazing Maya Lin sculptures. The event was nothing short of stupendous, drawing more than 500 people! The Linus Foundation is an organization run by Washington University students that throws parties for a good cause. We are incredibly appreciative to them for choosing The Urban Studio as their recipient for a second year in a row and for working so hard to make this event a success. A big thank you to everyone who attended the event as well!