GLOVERSVILLE — An art and wellness center, featuring art classes, yoga and meditation sessions will be opening downtown today.
Owner and director of 11ooam, Scott Baker, said he wants to create a place where people can go to feel peaceful and rested.
“I really think it will help people feel relaxed,” Baker said Monday. “This a place where you can be creative. People can really just let out their stresses through art, because life can be very stressful.”
The studio is located at 47 N. Main St., Suite 2 — through Mud Deli — will be open Thursday through Saturday from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. and Sunday 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. There will be open floor yoga classes from 8 a.m. to 10 a.m. using the Gaia yoga videos for instruction, meditation sessions led by Baker from 11 a.m. to 12 p.m. and studio space available for painting from noon to close.
Yoga sessions will be priced at $5 per day and painting will start at $10 including supplies. A rate for the meditation sessions has not been set yet.
Beginner art classes in acrylic painting will be taught by local artist Mandy Riesel. On Saturdays the studio will feature “neon nights” from 6 p.m. to midnight, when the studio will be lit with blacklights while attendees paint with ultraviolet, neon and glow in the dark paints. The cost to attend will be $20 including supplies.
Baker said the blend of art and wellness practices his studio will offer will help open people up to a multitude of thoughts allowing them to approach life and day-to-day problems in a variety of ways.
“Being creative can help you solve more problems in life that you are having. Being creative leads to a lot of different things,” Baker said. “It leads you to finding new ways to do things.”
According to Baker, people lose the ability to think this way as they age until it becomes almost alien, leading him to the name for his business, 11ooam, that stands for organized operations of alien minds, pronounced 11 a.m.
“It’s almost an alien concept to be creative. Some people just don’t have that. When you’re a kid you have a creative side and when you get older, you kind of lose that perspective,” Baker said.
Perhaps the thing he’s most excited about, is the sensory deprivation tank he will install in June making his studio the first “float center” in Fulton County. Sensory deprivation tanks are enclosed, lightless, soundproof pods filled with epsom salt water heated to skin temperature that people float effortlessly in the solution.
“Some people say it’s life changing,” Baker said. “The tension just goes away, because you’re just floating. All of life’s stress and everything just goes away. It’s something else. You can’t really explain it and there’s nothing around here like that.”
Baker will start out with one tank with the option of adding more if the service proves popular. Tank rentals will range from 30 minutes to an hour and a half.
“I really think that it’s just going to help people feel relaxed in a way they don’t know, because it goes against gravity. You’re floating,” Baker said.
Baker’s own experiences and studies in these areas have focused on developing an understanding of people and the world him, something he feels would benefit others.
“People say, ‘I want to try to be happy.’ Well people just say, ‘oh I wish I was happy.’ Be happy, find happiness, what’s happiness to you? I had to search for it, I found happiness,” Baker said. “My biggest thing is understanding. Once you learn to understand everything around you, you really can get in touch with the world around you.”
These ideas are part of Baker’s notion that individuals benefit from expanding their world view, something he came to after losing his brother a year and a half ago.
Baker moved to the city from Long Island six years ago, hoping his two brothers would join him when he was able to afford to buy a house. Baker said his hometown was hit hard by the heroin epidemic and one of his brothers struggled with heroin addiction after graduating from high school.
Baker started working as a paramedic for Mohawk Ambulance and later for the Ambulance Service of Fulton County, receiving his associate degree from the State University of New York at Cobleskill. Eventually he was joined by his brothers and was able to help his brother stop using heroin.
Helping others has been one of Baker’s greatest motivations in life. He said he developed an interest in becoming a paramedic after his brother suffered a near fatal asthma attack when he was young that was treated by emergency responders.
“It inspired me to want be a paramedic and help people. It’s all I ever wanted to do, is help people,” Baker said.
But he said, “It’s hard to see people and young kids dying. And all of those types of situations. It’s very stressful situations that I’ve seen.
During this time, Baker developed a line of lip balm called, Baked Naturals, starting a home business. The idea came to him after driving a patient to dialysis a few times a week who had severely chapped lips from using an oxygen mask. He worked to prefect his formula eventually giving it to the patient, much to her delight.
He started selling the product in local shops, eventually placing it in 20 stores and making a deal to have it carried in a monthly subscription box. As the business expanded, Baker’s brother started helping out and was supposed to help him fill an order for 5,000 units after taking a trip home to Long Island.
He had been off of drugs for a year, but ran into an old friend while in Long Island and wound up using heroin. He overdosed and passed away the day before his 25th birthday.
“He went to Long Island one time and relapsed once after being clean for a year and that was it,” Baker said. “It was really just the last stresser that I could take on top of the stressful lifestyle I was already living by being a paramedic.”
Baker said he wasn’t interested in meditation and spiritualism until after his brother’s death, seeking it out as a means to find peace and to deepen his connection to his brother.
“I did my own research. It felt natural to me, it almost felt like a natural instinct just to meditate and find peace. I feel like it’s a type of self preservation reaction that your body does to keep you from being that stressed out all the time,” Baker said.
It worked for him, but he found he didn’t want to continue working in the paramedic field, seeking to help others struggling with drug abuse by teaching classes and telling his story at the HFM Prevention Council and later deciding to open the art and wellness center in his brother’s memory hoping other city dwellers will benefit the way that he has.
“I’m trying to create a very peaceful and happy environment for people,” Baker said.
Baker shuttered the lip balm business after his brother’s death, but plans to resume production for sale at the studio. He’ll also carry his own line of natural tattoo balm and locally made soy candles and artwork.
“My goal for this place is for people to find somewhere that they can find peace and happiness within themselves. People are just stressed out with life, maybe it’s somewhere they can come to forget about everything going on around them and just have time to themselves,” Baker said.
The 11ooam art and wellness center located at 47 N. Main St. Suite 2 will open today at 7 a.m.