For about five years, Scott Beseler has been working on making the studio collective The Lodge
a reality. The space is designed as a “one-stop-shop” for bands, including digital and analog audio recording, screen printing studio, photography, event and performance center and even spaces for traveling and hardworking musicians and artists to sleep.
Scott Beseler, owner of The Lodge
All of this is housed in a former Masonic Lodge
in Dayton. Beseler, who also serves as Soapbox
's managing photographer, purchased the 1922 brick building in 2011 and quickly learned just how much time, money and work would be required to turn the place into his vision of a rock ’n’ roll bed and breakfast/art studio.
“It was a long process to get where we are today,” he says. “Immediately when I bought the place, the roof failed, the boiler failed, so I had to put a new roof on it, and do up the HVAC and all that kind of stuff.”
The trials and tribulations of the past five years have also included getting the building re-zoned, bringing it up to compliance with fire and building codes and installing adequate HVAC systems for the historic building’s large open spaces. Much of this work was financed by Beseler himself and a single private investor.
Despite these challenges and setbacks, The Lodge has moved forward and has started to make a name for itself. The building officially opened to the public in August. It has hosted art exhibits like the recent “The Magic of the Polaroid,” produced posters for MidPoint Music Festival and other merchandise for bands and served as a recording studio.
Perhaps its biggest claim to fame so far is that the band Walk the Moon wrote their 2014 album “Talking Is Hard,” including hits “Shut Up and Dance” and “Different Colors” at The Lodge. The Lodge studio photographers and filmmakers have even produced some of their music videos.
But for Beseler, the work is still not done. Although progress has been made on the space, there are still finishing touches to be resolved. That’s why he applied for ArtWorks’ Big Pitch presented by U.S. Bank
, and will present with the other seven finalists on Thursday for up to $20,000 in business grants.
“Up until now, it’s been privately funded, but we need an extra push of money to get us over to the edge,” Beseler says. “So I’m officially open but our bathrooms are in disrepair, we need HVAC for the middle floor, which is now being utilized as a photography studio and event space and we also need to do a big marketing push because right now, no one knows who we are and what we are, so the funds from the Big Pitch would be greatly, greatly appreciated.”
The grants available through the Big Pitch would set Beseler up to be able to finish the building itself, and then even look toward expansion. Next steps would include putting in a commercial kitchen for catering events and feeding artists working long hours in the recording studio, hiring an employee to run the place and maybe someday even putting in a coffee shop open to the public. It seems that for The Lodge, the possibilities are endless and the work is never done.
Beseler will be going last at the event, and says his pitch may even end with a surprise — but you’ll have to be there to find out.
“We’re going to end with a big bang,” he says.
ArtWorks Big Pitch Presented by U.S. Bank is a 10-week mentorship program that culminates in a pitch competition Oct. 6 at Rhinegeist. You can purchase tickets here.