Community By Design
More than just a place to paint, The BeltLine Studio is a creative haven for Atlantans
STORY: Caroline Cox
PHOTO: Stephen Payne
If you’d asked Jay Attanasio 10 years ago what he’d be doing now, he likely wouldn’t have predicted he’d be running a paint studio. But that’s exactly what he does as owner, founder and manager of The BeltLine Studio, a paint and sip spot inside the Telephone Factory Lofts where patrons can choose from more than 300 different designs.
Attanasio’s career began in engineering before he pivoted into marketing by earning his MBA from Purdue University. From there, he spent stints visiting various corners of the globe while working for companies including Motorola, Caterpillar, Carrier Corporation, Philips Electronics and Laureate International Universities. After a divorce, he settled in Atlanta to be close to his children. He was working as a consultant when he had the idea of opening The BeltLine Studio. Attanasio now runs the hybrid space with help from his girlfriend, Janica Campbell, who also runs her own law firm. Here, we talk to Attanasio about his business, past, present and future.
When did you first become interested in art?
Although I was not a professionally or traditionally trained artist, I worked with graphic designers and illustrators for more than 20 years throughout my career. The constant interaction with the graphic designers gave me confidence that I could embark on this artistic endeavor because I would constantly sketch to illustrate to them what kind of advertisement or website design I wanted. Even my daughter, who’s a fashion major at SCAD, is into illustrations. It was something we did as a hobby, so all of that gave me confidence that I could hold my own and communicate how to do it to other people.
You’ve hosted events for some big corporations as well as celebrities.
It’s been incredible. We had Leslie Odom, Jr. the actor from Hamilton. He was working with Freida Pinto filming in a movie called Only in the Telephone Factory [Lofts]. They asked if they could use our space to do some of the production and to film some of the movie. We’ve had Anthony Lanier, a Washington Redskins football player, as one of our customers. We’ve had several professional athletes come through. Missy Elliot recently did her birthday party here. We’ve had lots of corporate events for companies such as Google, Hyatt, Goodwill, PricewaterhouseCoopers— even Disney reached out to us to put together an art campaign to promote its movie, A Wrinkle in Time. We’ve been fortunate.
What draws people to your studio?
We do much more than painting. We leverage the whole facility—we have a patio where we’ve done weddings, a clubhouse, a rooftop and, of course, the studio. We’ve morphed the studio into an event space, and that was by design. That’s why it’s called The BeltLine Studio and not Paint, Sip and Party.
How is The BeltLine Studio supporting the city’s creative scene?
We’ve done events with artists such as Ray Geier of sQuishipuss, Catlanta and William Massey of Color ATL. We’ve also reached out to other artists to collaborate with them. The collaboration is something that, as we build more of a brand, we’re trying to build more visibility with those artists. As we pick up momentum and visibility, hopefully we can do more specialized collaborations with these artists. We see them as celebrities— we call them celebrity artists. When we make proposals to corporations, we promote them and their artwork.
What’s your ultimate goal for The BeltLine Studio?
To have four locations, one in each quadrant. I want to highlight the uniqueness of the BeltLine and the creativity in Atlanta, and to create a destination where people can have a fun night out. We don’t follow the format of putting you in a room and making everybody paint the same thing. We try to put out a very good product and make the people who are painting proud of the work that they do.
The BeltLine Studio
828 Ralph McGill Blvd. N.E.,