Cathie Anderson

Cathie Anderson: Brides, musicians, others beat a path to Sacramento’s Beatnik

Art and events already are filling the space at 723 S St. in Sacramento, the new home of Beatnik Studios, but the building will be undergoing remodeling through 2015.

Lindsay Calmettes, Wesley Davis and their families acquired the building back in August 2013 because Beatnik had outgrown its space on 17th Street, near Broadway. Calmettes and Davis, who met while working toward photography degrees at Sacramento State, envisioned creating a thriving community of artists when they opened Beatnik in May 2008. A few months later, though, the so-called Great Recession hit and art sales dried up.

Davis, who plays banjo in folk rock band, said his musician buddies suggested that he and Calmettes start using the gallery as a concert space. Then a woman walked in one day and and said: “I love this space. Can I get married here?” The idea appealed to the duo because they are both wedding photographers. Once they added weddings in the mix, Davis said, the concept of gallery-as-event-space really took off and generated instant revenue.

“We found this niche in the market as a blank canvas for a creative wedding space,” Davis said. “If you’re shopping for wedding space, mostly what you find are hotel ballrooms, country clubs, places like that.”

There was only one problem for the business partners: space. They didn’t have enough storage or kitchen space. They thought about making improvements to the building they were leasing on 17th Street, Davis said, but didn’t want to invest in a space they didn’t own.

In their new building, they have added a kitchen for caterers, built new bathrooms and created a large storage space. They are doing energy-efficient upgrades to the roof and air-conditioning systems now. And, next year, they plan to construct an outdoor deck behind the building.

Beatnik now has three employees, a gallery director and two event organizers, Davis said.