Nick Bradfield, owner of Rabbit Hole Studios, poses for a photo outside the community center in Athens, Georgia, on Thursday, Nov. 18, 2021. (Photo/Jessica Gratigny)

Nick Bradfield Cultivates Community Amongst Athens Creatives 

Why It’s Newsworthy: In the midst of the coronavirus pandemic, Nick Bradfield, owner of Rabbit Hole Studios, moved his business’ location. This move allowed him to expand his services and build a community center offering affordable spaces for Athens artists to pursue their passions.

By: Jessica Gratigny

A board lists the dates and times for the week’s events at Rabbit Hole Studios in Athens, Georgia, on Thursday, Nov. 18, 2021. All events on the board are free and open to the public. (Photo/Jessica Gratigny)

Despite the set backs many artists faced during the coronavirus pandemic, Nick Bradfield, a local musician and owner of Rabbit Hole Studios, saw an opportunity to grow his business by purchasing a nearly 40-year-old Bingo Hall in 2020. Tucked away in east Athens’ industrial scenery, the 10,200 square foot building located on Winterville Road now serves as a bustling hub for artists in the community.

“This is just meant to be a place that fosters that sense of belovedness that is really the root of all art, of all creation, of community, of family, of life itself,” Bradfield said. “It sometimes just brings me to tears, like how much love is here… you’re a part of something bigger than any one person.”

Exploring the center

Colorfully painted artwork guides visitors from the center’s entrance to the Grand Hall, where they can buy snacks, play games and convene. The hall is one of six rental spaces designed for rehearsals and events. The rentals can be booked online for an affordable price.

Other amenities such as 24/7 private studios, co-working spaces, a library and the Musical Museum are accessible through Rabbit Hole Studios’ membership program. 

Local musician Josh Klein, who graduated from the University of Georgia with a Bachelor’s degree in music performance, said he benefits from his membership by having a go-to space to focus on practicing his trumpet.

Finding a family 

Having a quiet place to practice is not the reason Klein continues returning to Rabbit Hole Studios. Klein said he instantly recognized Bradfield’s “charitable” efforts and genuine nature after the two met when Klein first entered the Athens music scene in 2016.

“The Rabbit Hole magnetically draws in people of great energy and vibration, and I’m so grateful to have this community and be a part of this vibration,” Klein said. 

Bradfield aims to provide everyone with the opportunity to build a family of artists by holding free public events such as the monthly Full Moon Jam. The community center’s calendar remains packed daily.

Outside of running Rabbit Hole Studios, Bradfield performs in folk rock improvisational band, White Rabbit Collective, and pursues his own musical endeavors through his solo project, Dr. Trance

Reflective of his pseudonym, Bradfield captivates listeners through tranquil sounds and lyrical expressions of love and heartbreak. Bradfield said he is inspired by Sufism, poet Rumi and Tuvan throat singers Alash and Huun-Huur-Tu.

After focusing his first two albums on past relationships, Bradfield said he hopes to branch out.

“It is so hard to accept that no matter how beautiful or sweet a song it is, sometimes it’s just never going to be requited love, so maybe my next one will be less about unrequited love,” Bradfield said. “Maybe it’ll be more about wanting to dance and have fun and other things besides sad love songs.”

Looking forward

Nick Bradfield, owner of Rabbit Hole Studios, poses for a photo in the community garden outside the community center located on Winterville Road in Athens, Georgia, on Thursday, Nov. 18, 2021. The 60 different fruit trees and shrubs planted throughout the property demonstrates Bradfield’s passion for urban farming and edible landscapes. He hopes to continue expanding the garden in 2022. (Photo/Jessica Gratigny)

Whether Bradfield is working on his music or Rabbit Hole Studios, his productivity never seems to rest. Within the next couple months, Bradfield looks forward to starting Rabbit Hole Radio, which will feature interviews with local artists. Looking years ahead, Bradfield hopes to create a network of community center’s in other cities called “bunny pads,” he said.

Nick Bradfield, owner of Rabbit Hole Studios, works at his office desk in the community center in Athens, Georgia, on Thursday, Nov. 18, 2021. “I really don’t have any days off,” Bradfield said. “But I also recognize that I’m living my dream like this is not work to me. It’s play, constantly.” (Photo/Jessica Gratigny)

As 27-year-old Bradfield envisioned Rabbit Hole Studios’ future, he sat in his purple-lit office reflecting on how far his business has come over the years.

What began as a one room studio space in his mother’s home over four years ago, Bradfield has since transformed Rabbit Hole Studios into a community center offering affordable resources and a sense of family to local creatives.

“It’s been so amazing to see it just blossom,” Bradfield said. “I’ve met so many new friends and artists who I probably would have never met had I not taken the leap of faith on this whole vision.”

Writer’s Note: In my Reporting and Writing Across Platforms class at the University of Georgia, I covered the local music beat and wrote this profile on Nick Bradfield, owner of Rabbit Hole Studios, for my final assignment.

How I Wrote The Story: When writing this story, I conducted research on the local music beat to determine what would be considered newsworthy. I choice to profile Nick Bradfield considering he moved Rabbit Hole Studios to its current location just over a year ago. I saw Bradfield as a prominent figure in the Athens music scene due to the countless efforts he makes to help artists in needs. My favorite part about the assignment was getting to know Bradfield and retelling his story through a photo essay.