Look around the sanitized streets of any contemporary city, and there’s a secret, often subversive history at risk of being forgotten. What’s now the nanny’s room in Brownstone Brooklyn might’ve been a tiny gallery in a riotous punk house. An American Apparel could have once been home to a cooperatively-run storefront space. And undoubtedly, those renovated loft condos once housed artists’ exhibition and studio spaces. Our cities are elephant graveyards of generations’ of artist’s aspirations and hard work made temporarily tangible. We ought to remember the artist-run space.
Art F City is pleased to announce We Are SO Not Getting the Security Deposit Back: a Guide to Defunct Artist-Run Spaces, a series of zines and e-books documenting the often-forgotten places where art making and viewing once happened. We’ll be releasing editions specific to cities such as New York, Baltimore, Chicago, and beyond, but welcome submissions from anywhere. If you were once a proprietor of a now-defunct artist-run space, or know someone who was, drop us a line. Whether your blood, sweat, and tears are barely dry or have long ago been whitewashed over, we want to hear your story.
Submit answers to the questions below to firstname.lastname@example.org
Name of the space:
Where was the space located? (Example: an old auto body shop 1234 W. Fake Street, Sample, NY that had holes in the roof but great acoustics) How many times did you move?
How did the space come to be? Who was involved in the founding and operation, and why did you decide to start the venue?
What were some of the improvements/changes you made to the space, and about how much sweat equity and money would you estimate you spent? (i.e we spent 2 weeks building/demolishing walls, installing soundproofing for $2,000, etc.)
How long was the space in operation and what where the dates? (i.e. three years, 2005-2008)
How did the space function financially? (example: we rented studio/living space to other artists, we charged cover for events, we used a membership model, we were a 501c3 that received grant funding, we were an LLC that could pay our rent with art sales, etc…)
What did your neighbors think of the space?
What types of programming did you put on and how frequently? (i.e. visual art exhibitions on a monthly basis, noise music shows on the weekends, DIY theater a few times a year, etc)
What types of support (or not) did you receive from the local government or larger institutions? (invitations to collaborate with museums of nonprofits, grant funding from ___ organization, promotion, leniency in regards to zoning code, etc.. from the city government)
Did the goals of the space change as time passed? (ie: the space shifted from an exhibition space to a performance space.)
What was your most memorable show?
Was burnout ever an issue for those involved?
Why did the space close?
What was your biggest takeaway from the project?
What is the location now? (example: our former storefront is now a Dunkin Donuts and the apartments above are now condos)
Are you still working on this, or a related project? (The space reincarnated in a new location/name, we’re working with a different collective, etc…)
What’s the weirdest interaction you had with your landlord?
Did you get your security deposit back?