Video by Nicholas Lea Bruno.
In 1901 Bernard W. Norton founded a small custom tool shop in Oakland, California. The company grew to become a staple in California for manufactured specialty automotive parts, license plates, and steel containers. Over the next 100 years the Norton family has had a significant impact on the Oakland and greater California community. By owning and operating a family-style business Mr. Norton and the subsequent 2 generations of Norton owners and operators after him, provided not only for their own family but the families of their employees.
When the Norton’s needed to further expand and relocate from their 10th street site in the late 90’s these incredible buildings were lightly used and mostly vacant. In late 2009, a local designer and manufacturer purchased all four of the Norton factory buildings with the idea of bringing back to life the once bustling factory. Over the next several years the buildings underwent major upgrades and a restoration. The building’s rich history and unique architecture inspired a new life for the buildings to honor and encourage local manufacturing, art, and the greater creative community of Oakland. With this in mind, the Norton Factory Studios were born.
Norton Factory Studios has 18 brand new private studios, all with operational windows to let in the substantial East/West light so suited for fine arts. With various sizes and layouts, each studio offers a clean working environment in which artists can further their practice. At its center is a large common area ideal for hosting social and artistic events, as well as fostering daily interaction between its creative tenants. The Norton Factory Studio space also has a classroom made available for community enrichment and critiques.