NORTH ADAMS, Mass. — Michael Eagle sees so much potential in Berkshire County that the native New Yorker is not only moving his online music business here, he's expanding space opportunities for other artists as well.
A music educator and manager, he's toured worldwide as a professional percussionist. When he began dating his partner Allison, he grew fond of Berkshire County during his many visits to the area. As things changed in the country and the world because of the pandemic, he was spending most of his time here rather than touring or in New York City. He finally made the move from Brooklyn to the Berkshires.
It was something that was going to happen eventually, Eagle says. The virus just brought it to the forefront.
He's the founder of Rhythm Monster, a school for Scottish and Breton pipe drumming, and needed a larger office for his online venture as well as his vast collection of musical instruments. He said he got in touch with Eric Rudd about a space at Rudd's Beaver Mill and Rudd offered the former Frog Lotus Yoga Studio that had closed during the summer.
When Eagle saw the yoga studio space, he felt it should be a business rather than just an office "because it was so magnificent." He found that in discussing his vision with Rudd, "His vision and my vision seemed to fit together perfectly."
Eagle sees the need for local ventures such as Greylock Works. He wants to bring something similar with The Studio at Beaver Mill to the area, but on a smaller scale both physically and economically. He feels that region is a perfect place to develop a business that can bring residents together, or bring others here to share in the joy that is Berkshire County.
Eagle thinks the area is supportive of artists as well as local businesses, so his interest in community and real estate development was a perfect fit with opening the new studio space. He has a great deal of praise for the local developers, planners, business owners, and community members that have worked to grow and support small businesses as well as ventures such as Massachusetts Museum of Contemporary Art, HiLo, and the Norad Mill.
"I see the potential in this area clearly," he said.
He wants people to know it's The Studio is "your studio" -- if you want it to be a yoga studio, it can be. If you want it to be a wedding venue, then it is. Eagle wants the community to know that "this is for you to make it what you will." So far, it's main use has been for photo and video shoots, but Eagle envisions so many possibilities for the future.
The studio occupies about 4,000 square feet in the historic mill, with a front lobby and two bathrooms. Large windows offer natural light but there's also studio lighting.
Eagle hopes to partner with photographers and videographers that use the space to promote it. He is also running a special, for anyone who books a photo or video shoot before Dec. 31, the first session is free.
As of right now, the studio is limited to a maximum of 12 people per rental, with extensive cleaning in between sessions. Eagle says safety is the main priority. Once its safe to do so, the space can hold around 100 people. When that time comes, he sees people using it for exercise classes, weddings, corporate events, parties, etc.. He has gotten a great deal of interest from fellow musicians for classes and rehearsals.
Eagle has been using this time to reach out to people to see what they might need in the future. He wants to get the word out about the studio, but also to hear what people are looking for from the space and from him. He also hopes to connect potential studio renters with local businesses when they plan their events.
Although Eagle is excited eventually help bring people back to somewhat normal lives after the pandemic, he is enjoying setting up his office space and connecting with everyone.
"It's been a true blessing to have this space and have a business for the community," he said.
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