One of the historic sites and tourist attractions in Key West, Florida is the Armory, situated at 600 White Street. The Armory was built originally between 1901 and 1903 as an armory and drill hall for the state militia of Florida. The Armory was included in the U.S. National Register of Historic Places on March 11, 1971. However, it became the initial campus and home of The Studios of Key West in 2006. The Studios of Key West (TSKW) is an artist community that offers professional workshops, creative space for aspiring artists, and other cultural and creative activities. TSKW contains an exhibition and performance hall, a sculpture garden, and two other spaces for exhibitions in the ground floor main hall and in the first floor. There are house studios for writers and artists in the second floor.
The civic leaders and popular artists of Key West, such as John Martini, Peyton Evans, Lynn Kuafelt, David ‘Bonez’ Clopton, Deborah Goldman, and other people interest in promoting arts started the initiative to convert The Armory into The Studios of Key West. The Armory became the main center of arts and it is an active host of artist-in-residence. The purpose of TSKW is to provide a supportive and collaborative environment for comprehensive creative experience. The mission of TSKW is to nurture creation of new artistic works and also support the development of emerging and established creative people in the entire Florida Keys. TSKW also supports creative people and visiting artists from all parts of the world.
The founding director, Eric Holowacz crafted the campus, operational models, and programming of TSKW during the first three years. When you visit TSKW, you could connect with the actual cultural life of Key West. TSKW offers a wide range of cultural experiences throughout the year, such as exhibitions, workshops, lectures, community partnership projects, and concerts. The residency program of TSKW allows residencies of up to four weeks for artists from all parts of the world. TSKW has hosted more than 100 artists, performers, writers, and even film makers after its inception on 2006. Further, artists belonging to Florida Keys could avail long term work space through the studio artist program of TSKW. The Studios maintain 15 dedicated studio spaces at present.