The Crosby Schoolhouse was built in the early 1930's by L.O. Crosby. He was called one of the "largest and wealthiest timber industrialists in Mississippi".
Crosby is located in the Homochitto National Forest about 30 minutes from Natchez and has dwindled in size since its heyday in the 30's and 40's. But the school was built to last.
Before the concept of a shared living and creative space such as the schoolhouse was even a first dim idea, a trio of friends in New Orleans were unknowingly embarking on merging paths. Karen had been searching for many months for a studio space and rural retreat within striking distance of New Orleans. Peter and Kate were also independently playing with their own pipe-dream of having access to a rural living space. It was Kate's daughter Lily who connected the three of us, at the very same moment Karen came across the schoolhouse property for sale. In a rather spontaneous whirlwind, a lot of scraping together of resources, and a jump of blind faith (meaning no building inspections), the property was acquired by the trio, and The Crosby Schoolhouse LLC created, leaving Peter, Kate, and Karen wondering what exactly was next.
When we first entered the school it had been abandoned for a number of years, but aside from a few bats and a lot of spiders the school required very little major repair. Over the course of about a year, we cleaned, undertook minor repairs, landscaped, and began to set up shop. The building consists of 10,000 square feet, with six of the original classrooms intact, complete with chalkboards and coat hooks. Another two classrooms had been converted into slightly more traditional living space, with bathrooms, a kitchen, and living room. The vast central hallway alone has more square footage than most modest houses in New Orleans. The building seemed to contain endless space and possibility (and work), and yet in short time it began to fill with studio materials, living amenities, and slowly transformed into a second home and primary studio for the trio.
The large space, and its proximity to New Orleans (about 2 hours away), naturally lends itself to visitors, mainly family and friends, who see a weekend get-away, a location with immediate access to wild space, a place to work on creative projects, and a potential evacuation location.
In the first year alone, the Schoolhouse has welcomed friends working on jewelry, music composition, story-boarding films, birthday parties, a very large thanksgiving, and other celebrations. It took some time to finally focus on our own studio work.
While ever a work in progress, and still desperately in need of a coat of exterior paint, the Crosby Schoolhouse finally has taken shape as a studio production location. The creations of the artists are featured here.
Check out The Crosby Schoolhouse Facebook page for the latest goings-on.