American Steel Studios provides affordable space in which artists and entrepreneurs can create and inspire. The population is diverse and creative, manifesting a space that is resplendent with cross-pollination and inspiration.

Our Studios : American Steel Studios is comprised of two adjacent yet distinctly different warehouses. The first is an industrial paradise with high clearance, bridge cranes, drive through truck access and roll-up doors all around. The second is a less industrial space for more technical work and is flooded with natural light.

Our Founder : Karen Cusolito attended Rhode Island School of Design and Massachusetts College of Art. She is a large-scale industrial artist who works primarily with steel and the concepts of nature and humanity.

She is a founding member of the Oakland Makers, on the advisory board for the Crucible, on the Board of the West Oakland Commerce Association. In 2013 she was honored to be the recipient of the Alameda County Arts Leadership Award.

American Steel People from american steel studios on Vimeo.

Our History : The space was founded in 2006 when one artist needed a bigger space in which to work. At this point, the buildings were virtually vacant, and over time a community has emerged, becoming the creative playground to a multitude of skill sets and industries. Our population includes painters, photographers, steel fabricators and sculptors, soap-makers, a compost worm farm, water re-use management, urban greening, vertical aerial and trapeze performers, graphic designers, jewelers, glass artists, furniture designers and more.

Our Goal : To provide affordable work space in which artists and innovators can create, produce and evolve and engage the local community on a multitude of levels. We are dedicated to West Oakland and draw great inspiration from the strong history of creativity, industry, and innovation that has been the backbone and legacy of our neighbors.  We strive to constantly give back and grow with our West Oakland neighborhood.

  • Our internship programs are dynamic and rapidly expanding. From quarterly high school and junior high school internships teaching basic metal working skills and a bit about the business end of art to summer program building gardens, developing computer skills and strengthening the organizational and administrative skills in Oakland’s young adults, our internships are tailor made for each young person that walks through our door. 
  • Our seasonal Open Studios showcases the art and innovation percolating at American Steel Studios and provide the public and our artists the opportunity to get to know each other.
  • Our gallery hosts a variety of other visual and performing artists for events and performances, film and photo sets, as well as fundraisers and showcases for local area non-profits and education programs.
  • We host a free summer school in conjunction with local and national nonprofits for teens teaching physical comedy and performing arts.
  • Partnerships with American Steel Studios, our fabulous tenants and local schools, non-profits, groups, organizations, and government entities facilitate building and strengthening professional skill sets and provide opportunities to gain real world experience for program participants in a fun and inspiring environment.
  • We co-hostess monthly litter clean ups to assist in the beautification of our neighborhood
  • We house and help facilitate local efforts to green our building and our community. Drawing from our deep dedication to environmental and social sustainability, we utilize catch-water systems to water the ever expanding gardens and the trees planted with W.O.G.I. that surround and are slowly taking over this 6 acre warehouse.  Working with neighborhood groups, we are constructing a living wall, have built drought resistant gardens, addressing storm drain issues, planted a 230′ long education garden, and are working to add native plants all around the building to become part of the Oakland Pollinator Pathway.

Studio Space
To learn more about studio space at American Steel Studios, or set up a time to come by, please email us at manager@americansteelstudios.com, or give us a ring at 510.776.7694.

Our 2016 event calendar has filled up for large-scale events. If you are interested in hosting a private event at American Steel Studios, please email us at events@americansteelstudios.com.

To form a partnership, develop an internship, if you are spearheading a neighborhood program, or are looking for artists and services for your event, email outreach@americansteelstudios.com


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