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Recording Academy Repurposes Historic Athens Shoe Store


Tweed Recording Academy has arrived in Downtown Athens, GA. Tweed Recording Academy combines Athens’ two most prominent traditions: Music and Education.

Utilizing both the art and science of music recording, Tweed will educate students from around the globe amidst the great music legacy of Athens. Tweed will usher in the next generation of sound engineers, technicians, and entrepreneurs, all from its new downtown location. Tweed is slated for a Fall 2019 opening,

Tweed’s creator is Andrew Ratcliffe, a native of Georgia with a twenty-two-year history in the audio recording industry.  Andrew has recorded artists of all levels and is excited about the prospect of passing on the skills and experience he has. “I’ve been fortunate to learn about recording through a combination of mentors as well as practical, hands-on experience in my studio. I feel like it’s time to put my money where my mouth is and, on a heart level, give back.”  Andrew is not alone in this quest.  Some of the recording industry’s biggest names will be in residence as faculty, bringing over 300 years of engineering experience. For example, the program is being written in conjunction with Grammy Award winning producer John Snyder, Department Chair of Film and Music studies at Loyola University (New Orleans, LA), and Tim Hall, current instructor at the Art Institute of Nashville.

The 11,000 square foot school will consist of classrooms and two intimate educational recording studios outfitted with a full complement of vintage and state-of-the-art recording gear. Resembling the hourly accreditation of an Associate’s degree with a total of six hundred contact hours over a 20-week period, Tweed’s curriculum will run twice a year and include the history, art, and application of analog and digital recording as well as mixing skills in both recording applications.  Entrepreneurship is at the heart of the program, challenging the graduating student to go out into their own communities and start their own content-based engineering and producing opportunities as well as recording studios, bands, and record labels.

The school will front Washington Street, with classrooms downstairs and offices and administration on the 2nd floor.  This will bring new life to the block directly across from City Hall and is a testament to the appeal of Downtown Athens and its great music legacy.

On Clayton St, in the former home of Lamar Lewis Shoes, Tweed will have a dedicated space as a revolving area for showcasing local musicians and artists, the history of music and recording in the south east, radio shows, and private event space rental.  This space – a mere drumstick-throw from the Georgia Theater – will connect Tweed students with the music-loving people and visitors of Athens.

Tweed Recording Academy will also feature an adjunct front of house mixing school that will occur four to six times a year in ten to fourteen-day seminars with legendary engineer Buford Jones (Prince, ZZ Top, Jackson Browne, Linda Ronstadt, Pink Floyd, David Bowie, Eric Clapton, James Taylor, Counting Crows, Faith Hill, etc.).   These mixing skills can be utilized in live music venues, houses of worship, outdoor festivals, etc. The front of house mixing school will have a home base at the historic Winterville Auditorium in Winterville, Georgia just a few miles from our downtown Athens location.

The goal to connect with the community is also seen in Tweed’s partnership with The Winterville Auditorium.  Recently, The Fox Theater issued a grant to restore the theater to its former glory.  Tweed has also joined in that effort through its commitment to provide a new state-of-the-art sound system.  Ratcliffe’s vision for Tweed’s students includes heavy emphasis on community.  Tweed is actively seeking opportunities for students to fulfil their required time working in local venues and with local organizations.

Character Built Construction, Athens’ premier local construction and design group, will restore and renovate this historic space for Tweed. Character Built Construction focuses on a wide breadth of commercial and residential projects local to the Athens, GA area. Utilizing the highest quality craftsmanship, Character Built provides a design-minded building management service that is unique to the Athens’ aesthetic. Recent assignments include Pharma Tech’s offices at the Bottleworks and Athens’ newest entrant to the restaurant scene, The Ex Pat in Five Points.

As Athens continues to attract new and creative businesses like Tweed Recording Academy to the Classic City, Character Built Construction is able to meet the demands of specialized construction, design, and even FF&E. Having grown from Oneta Woodworks and Timberlane Construction, Character Built’s experience and reputation provide a perfect fit for creative companies.

David S. Dwyer of Landmark Properties handled the real estate for Tweed.


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