StoneFire Art Studio & Gallery hopes to turn the city into an 'art town'
By Meagan McGone
TITUSVILLE - Maxine Trainer is taking the transformation of Titusville into her own hands.
"There is an extreme amount of talent in Titusville," said Ms. Trainer, a seven-year resident of the city. "It's going to make a fabulous art town."
It was a large, vacant building on the property of the Miracle City Mall that inspired Ms. Trainer to create a venue for local artists to display their work, as well as teach, learn, support causes, and ultimately, kick back and have fun. What once was home to Firestone Auto Care is now StoneFire Art Studio & Gallery, and Ms. Trainer said it's sparking an art revolution in the city.
"It's a very simple concept to take an old building and reuse it and repurpose it for something else," she said. "I thought, 'Here is a crumbly, old building that has been an eyesore for a long time. I'm going to turn it into a vibrant art studio that is a really fun place to be.'"
Ms. Trainer obtained the keys to the building in November and opened the gallery in December. She credits a leap of faith from Brevard County Commissioner Robin Fisher for turning her dream into reality.
"I never knew Robin Fisher at all," she said. "All I know is that I was stalking the building for six weeks, manifesting what I was going to do with it. And then somebody said, 'I think Robin Fisher knows the owner.'"
After explaining her idea to Commissioner Fisher, he agreed to speak to the owner of the building about offering it for a minimal amount of rent per year.
"And that's what I love about Robin Fisher," Ms. Trainer said. "He didn't understand anything about the arts. But you know what? He was visionary enough to know this was needed. And that was it - end of story. He got the key, gave it to me and never interfered. That takes a lot of guts and courage."
Nine months later, StoneFire Art Studio & Gallery is a place for 28 Titusville artists to express themselves. It serves not only as an independent studio and an educational facility, but as a place for the community to gather for charity.
For example, on the first Saturday of every month, the studio holds a community garage sale to benefit a local nonprofit. And in October, StoneFire will host an event to raise funds for local animal shelters and promote adoptions for pit bulls, a cause that is near and dear to Ms. Trainer's heart.
"For Pit's Sake" will take place on Saturday, Oct. 20, and Sunday, Oct. 21, and StoneFire artists are all contributing pieces to benefit the event, as funds assist the North Animal Care Center and the SPCA of North Brevard.
"I'm really excited about the pit bull show. This is a chance for us to raise awareness," Ms. Trainer said. "People need to think beyond the stereotype and understand that it's not the dogs (that are at fault for having a reputation of being aggressive), but it's the owners, and these owners, who are heathens, are in the minority, thankfully."
Giving back to the community is important to Ms. Trainer, who said that StoneFire Art Studio & Gallery would not be possible without the generosity of the people of Titusville.
"After I got the key, I had 15 cents in the bank, and I didn't have the money to buy a mop," she said. "I swear to God, a woman turned up here, and in the back of her truck was a big mop and an industrial bucket. And the shop was full of grease and dirt. So I asked, 'Hey, what are you doing with that mop?' And she said she was taking it to the dump. And that's how it's gone. This studio has grown through the kindness of the community."
StoneFire Art Studio & Gallery is located at 2500 S. Washington Ave., Titusville.
For more information, call (321) 652-6363.