This upcoming winter will not keep artistic spirits dormant, D’hana Perry and her friends can assure it. They’ve devoted their energy, efforts and personal finances into a wonderful creative space. Thursday, September 22, 2011, is going to kick major butt. Speaking of which, you better get your butt to 549 Columbus Avenue in Boston’s South End neighborhood. The grand opening of a new co-working art space begins at 6:00pm and goes until 12:00am. There will be celebration, DJ sets, a possible name-game (the art space currently doesn’t have one), and more!
D’hana took the time to answer some of ArtVenue‘s questions pertaining to the new art space’s grand opening.
Congratulations on your art space at 549 Columbus Ave! You have prime real estate in the heart of Boston that’s walking distance of numerous bus stops, the Green-line, Orange-line and Commuter Rail. How did you land this spot?
Thank you! Yes the location of this space is unbelievable, but I guess we got pretty lucky. There was already an established group of digital artists (web development, graphic design, video, etc.) sharing space together in Jamaica Plain who were doing work with various non-profit groups, focused on social justice and activism. That group started looking for a new space around the same time that the Lucy Parsons Center moved their bookstore to JP, so the group decided to take the space and take on more members
What’s the name of the space going to be, and what’s the story behind it?
We don’t have a name yet! We plan to crowd source the naming of our space in the form of a game at our grand opening party.
“I’m super pumped! This is exactly the type of space I want to work in and we all hope to make it an accessible venue.”
How much wall and floor space is there? How much of the wall space is going to be reserved for art and wall hangings
Well, the space is kind of divided into 2 rooms. The bigger room is in the back and will be the primary workspace. It has super high ceilings and a neat little lofted area too. The front room will be used to curate shows, and both rooms together will be used for events. I have no idea what that translates to in square feet and inches, but I can say with confidence that it is bigger than some of the bars I frequent.
What’s your background and how did you end up in Boston? What’s your relationship with art like?
Hmm, well, I moved to Boston from Cleveland, Ohio in 2001. In fact, next week marks my 10-year anniversary! I guess my resume-background is split between working in various non-profits, DJing, and most recently, grad school.
I suppose my relationship to art is musical and sociological. I’m getting a degree in media arts at Emerson College, and I’m somewhere between the documentary, performance, installation and academic tracks in the program.
“…we envision it being a little beehive of artistic and cultural production for values-minded businesses.”
Who is part of your crew? How did you all meet? What responsibilities do they hold?
Including me, the crew includes 9 people and it’s still growing (listed below). Half of the group members were working together previously in a space called Ad Hoc in JP, and the other half are new members, myself included. We are a work collective, so all decisions are made by consensus and we try our best to share duties equally.
- Ben Sheldon – Web Development
- Dana Busch – Interactive Design
- D’hana Perry – DJ & MFA student
- Golden Arrows (Nerissa Cooney & Alex Hage) – Graphic Design
- John Hulsey – Video Artist
- Kelly Creedon - Documentary Photography
- Quilted (Ben Mauer) – Web Development
How long have you been planning this space and when did you set your plans in motion?
The space was picked up this summer after the Lucy Parsons Center moved to JP. We’ve been doing DIY renovations on the space all summer.
Has the project received any funding?
No! We’ve all been pooling our money and spare time to get everything up and running, but we definitely need some financial support, especially for the renovations. We plan on collecting donations at the grand opening and we’re also looking for a few more members to join.
“I suppose my relationship to art is musical and sociological.”
I am an artist and I would love to use your co-working art space to create some of my own art. What’s involved on my end? (Do I rent space from you, if so what are the costs? Do I bring and take all my supplies, or are there a few things I could borrow when I’m there? What are your hours of operation? Give me all the deets!)
There is an online application process so that’s a great place to start. The cost is $200.00/member and that includes utilities! Members are welcome to bring in desks, chairs, and a little furniture. There is a central kitchenette and a few other office supplies, but otherwise you should bring whatever you need to get your work done.
The hours of operation are 24/7. All members will have full access to the space, so if that means you’re most productive at 3:00am, then go for it!
What should we expect at your Grand Opening this Thursday?
Music from myself and DJ Pajaritos (Pico Picante), visuals, a photo booth and a few extras. We’re really excited to open the space to the public!
How many art shows and events do you anticipate hosting per month?
We hope to curate the front room roughly once a month and probably the same frequency with events. In terms of events, we hope to open the doors to artists and community groups that need meeting or discussion space as well as hosting film screenings and parties.
How excited and proud are you about this art space?
I’m super pumped! This is exactly the type of space I want to work in and we all hope to make it an accessible venue.
What do you hope to see happen with this project in a year? What about five?
Well I think we envision it being a little beehive of artistic and cultural production for values-minded businesses. But this week, we’re pretty focused on finishing renovations and getting the doors open.
Any amusing anecdotes you have about the space and it’s creation?
Do thorough research before launching into DIY renovation project! We did pretty well on our own, but discovered a few challenges along the way. It’s definitely been a rewarding experience over all.
(Click the image for further details of Thursday’s free and inaugural celebrations at the new art space at 549 Columbus Avenue, in Boston’s South End!)
Happy art’ing and grand open’ing, friends!
*Images used are still-shots from their Vimeo video, which was created by Kelly Creedon.