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Artrepreneurialism and the Impossibility of Creating a Unique Word

Lisa MarkusonBy Lisa Markuson on Nov 20, 2012 | Add a Comment Add a Comment (33)

Artrepreneurialism and the Impossibility of Creating a Unique Word

I am so out of control in my addiction that I Instagrammed this picture mailed to me, downloaded it to a computer, and now here it is. Nice, yes?

Early Bird Filter. Check out that sweet wooden table.

Early Bird Filter. Check out that sweet wooden table.

It's always a pleasant surprise when people put their money where their eyes are.

Local businesspeople loooooove to say that they are patrons and advocates of the arts. Fat wallets can wax poetic on the virtues of investing in the infrastructure needed to support an artistic community, but when their cash is on the line, songs of praise all too often fade into noncommittal mumbling. It is easier said than done, to make an actual investment for the direct benefit of artists and craftspeople, unreliable and unprofitable vagrants that we are (made out to be).

Sometimes though, people who own things actually experiment with real actual American dollars to see if maybe, just maybe, living working artists could be a viable demographic in which to invest. Sometimes, those people are called Adam Reichenberger, Cullen Gilchrist, and Jonas Singer. And sometimes, the investment is right in your neighborhood, and you have an opportunity to get on board too. But first, the back story.

While looking for obscure spaces to use as kitchens, offices, and studio spaces, the three stumbled across 411 New York Ave NE. The infamous address has been at times associated with popular after hours club The Warehouse, a dance studio which may or may not have offered stripping classes, and a church, among other things. They knocked down some walls, added some plumbing features, and now have over 2000 square feet of cooperative studio space that is ready to be activated by people in town who are searching for a place to work, create, build, think, draw, share, conspire... But I digress.

Already the artrepreneurial (this is a term I thought I coined but apparently some woman called Renee Philipps had beaten me to it) young men have signed on a few like-minded friends to build their respective nests in the space, which they have given the working name of The Art Department. Who are these comrades-in-arms, you ask? For your entertainment and pleasure I have assembled a list:

Jacob Perkinson - a newcomer to Washington from Kansas. For his own work, he focuses on woodblock relief prints and oil paintings, and has a new series on pedestrian DC- We all know the terror the work must embody. Jake is taking the lead on managing artists in the space, and was described by Reichenberger as "the most wonderful person I know." Must meet.

Rose Jaffe - You may know her expressive linework and illustration from her tumblr, The Language of Line, or her great comics. If you don't know her, or haven't visited, I commandeth unto thee: Do so. 

Graham Boyle - After building a reputation working with Hillyer Art Space and Pyramid Atlantic, the skilled print maker is now working on his own in the region, recently having shows at the Greater Reston Arts Center (Campaign Re/Form, curated by DC-goddess Holly Bass) and The Fridge. Check out his blog, Daily Disobedience, and he even has one of those newfangled "Pinterest" contraptions.

Already this is interesting enough to be on the cover of the any credible print newspaper's Lifestyle section, but wait, there's more. If you think a set up like this might interest you, there is space for 2-4 more artists to set up shop in The Art Department. For 24/7 access to a personal 10x8 workspace with storage and shared use of the large common space including work tables, woodworking area, a kitchen and large basin with powerful hoses for cleaning, they are asking for $400/month. When can you move in? As soon as tomorrow, apparently. When asked about flex-time usage, and the potential for musician practice space, Reichenberger said they would be very interested in entertaining many different scenarios so that they space was as flexible, accessible, and collaborative as possible. I liked that answer.

Even if you are not a secret superstar clarinet player (you know who you are you New Orleans jazz-playing hunk) or don't have an amazing paper-making Etsy shop that is exploding out of your shared living room in your Craigslist group house, you will also be interested to know that the artists and managers of the space are planning to hold monthly open houses for all of us creatively challenged types to visit, mingle, and see what the crazy kids are getting up to. They are planning their first open house for some time near the end of the year- I sense a New Year's Resolution coming on like a sneeze.

Get in touch with Adam, Cullen, or Jonas about renting or utilizing space:

ArtDepartmentDC@gmail.com

 

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