By artistes, for artistes

At Swapna, aspiring musicians, photographers, dancers and anyone with a creative streak have a space to follow their passion
By artistes, for artistes

CHENNAI: Serene surroundings, central location, flexible timing, affordable pricing and overall a conducive environment. These are just a few musts on the checklist of aspiring artistes, who are constantly on the lookout for rehearsal spaces and studios in the city. Last year, art development consultant Shreya Nagarajan Singh launched her multi-functional space, Swapna, to promote art and conversations around it.
Shreya has converted an 80-year-old palatial bungalow into a space for discussions, shoots and cultural events.

The interior decor is designed and decked up with art and antique furniture to create an atmosphere that fosters creativity. Located in Mylapore, this space is only a few kilometres away from popular sabhas.
“Our team of six members has artistes of various disciplines, and we work with artists of various disciplines. This experience and exposure have only confirmed what we always suspected — artistes need a space for rehearsals, talks, workshops, meetings and engagement. Weekends are usually busy. We take bookings at least two or three weeks before your scheduled date,” said Shreya, a dancer, who has a rich background in arts. 

An 80-year-old bungalow has been revamped for
art-related discussions

Swapna has a garden and plant-filled verandah. There are multiple power sockets for musical instruments. Photographers, who need the studio for a shoot, can spread out their gear and use their lights freely. Located on the ground floor, this space is disabled-friendly and does not have steps. The building is a few kilometres down the main road, away from bustling traffic and there’s ample parking space.

“We have a small room with a single bed and attached restroom. Artistes sometimes stay over, work in the night, and need a calm work environment. There’s a pantry with basic necessities like a coffee machine, biscuits and water. Since our office is attached to the building, we will be available round-the -clock to tend to their needs,” said Shreya. 

She believes that artistes, both budding and established, have become generous, more forward-thinking and oriented towards collective learning. “The younger generation is inclined towards getting more likes and shares on social media. They post their practice session videos, exclusive content during Margazhi season, and other performances so people can watch from home. This is to garner more followers and increase viewership for their channels. This is also a primary reason for choosing an artistic space like ours for video shoots,” she said. 

Voice training workshops, choreography classes and movement therapies are held frequently here. The team also promotes dying art forms like kattai koothu. “Not many budding artistes have the luxury of hiring spaces for performance. Unlike the senior artistes who have their own studio, we want it to be pocket-friendly and create awareness that such a concept is trending in the city. We need more spaces like these. So far, we’ve had patrons merely through word-of-mouth. I also plan to bring in a special flooring for dancers to support their feet. I’m taking it slow. We need to see what works and what does not before investing in a fast-paced industry like ours,” said Shreya. For details, call: 7358777797
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The New Indian Express