Interview with Open Space

Posted by on Dec 4, 2008 in Interviews

With just a quick glance at it it seems you do a lot of different things at the space. Can you describe how the evolution of the space came about?

– The space is our latest venture, and it has become the center of all of our projects. Kalene and I have always kept things pretty diverse and have always found ourselves involved in many projects at once. The space has been a natural progression of things for us. At first we were doing projects independently, then after meeting up in Brooklyn we moved in together and started working on projects together and helping each other with our independent projects. After our son was born and we moved to upstate NY. It made sense to find a space where we could focus on all our projects as well as develop a business out of some of them…

Was it a graphics studio first then became a gallery?

– Yes, We started looking for a space first to open a graphic design studio, we wanted to find a town that already had a creative focused community, and after our first trip to Beacon we were sold. After looking at a few places in town we fell in love with our current location. The only issue was that it was too big for just a design studio, so we decided to pursue another project we had always talked about and the gallery was born.

I actually visited Beacon, NY last week and was amazed by the little town. It seems like the perfect little town to live to have a semi-normal

existence – small town feel and be so close to Manhattan. How did you guys end up in Beacon?

– We are both from the Hudson Valley originally but spent the last 7 years in Brooklyn where we were very involved in the art community, So after our son was born and moved back to the area we started looking around at towns with an emerging/established art community to open a graphic design business. And the rest is in the answer above.

What are you guys background? Did you get a degree in graphic design or studio art or are you self taught?

– We both have degrees in Graphic Design and actually met at design school out in Colorado. In addition to our shared interest in design we both have always pursued art in various capacities throughout our lives, and continue to this day.

How many people do you usually have for your openings?

– Our openings are very well attended and we usually see between 75 – 125 people throughout the night at a typical opening.

What type of work do you usually look to show or does it change from show to show?

– We show work that inspires us, so the possibilities are endless. However, we typically focus on a genre of art we have been calling “subculture contemporary” Which in our definition contains the subcultures and influences of street art, graffiti, illustration, graphic design, craft, skateboarding, street culture, etc

Can you try and describe the art scene there in Beacon?

– The art scene in Beacon is ever evolving and attracts a wide range of artists. The scene seems to exist in small overlapping pockets of artists that range from the emerging young artists right out of school to the established contemporary artist and hobby artists and art appreciators also fill in the spaces in between.

What type of influence does having Dia : Beacon have on the general art scene in town?

– Dia puts Beacon on the global map as an upstate art destination, however it’s location detaches it from the actual town and the art scene. I think the biggest influence Dia has had on the art scene is that it got things going here, got artists interested in giving the town a try.

Is there much flow over traffic from the museum into Main Street, and possibly into Open Space?

– Yeah the town definitely sees a lot of visitors because of Dia. We do as well, however, the west end of town gets much more DIA foot traffic than the east end where we are located.

How did you get involved with the Electric Windows project: across the street?

– The Electric Windows Project was our idea and we got together with our neighbors Beacon Art Supply to put the whole thing together.

One of the features of Beacon that sold us on moving our business here was the amount of old brick factory building around town. When we looked at our space to rent it, the fact that it was right across the street from that huge empty factory building was definitely a selling point. Once we moved in we started talking about the building and what could be done with it. Our background in Public Art and Street Art definitely led us to the idea of filling each window with art and usually when we get an idea in our heads we see it thought to the end…

Who are some of the artists that were involved in that project? How did you guys find all the artists?

– Some of the artists involved in the project were friends of ours, while others were people we admired. In curating a project like EW we had to pick artists that could create their finished pieces in the three day event timeline, some finished their pieces in one day and a few artists that had scheduling conflicts had their pieces pre-printed, and one artists actually did his piece at home.

Electric Windows Artists:

Chris Stain, Cycle, Dan Funderburgh, Daryll Peirce, Depoe, Elbow Toe, Jim Darling, ILOVEMYBOO, Lady Pink, Michael De Feo, Mr Kiji, Peripheral Media Projects, Peat Wollaeger, Rene Gagnon, Rick Price, Rissssa Boogie, Ripo, Ron English, Tes One, The Love Movement, Tina Darling, Ultra, UPSO, You Are Beautiful

How is the Beacon art scene compared to New Paltz or Kingston? Is there any rivalry between the Hudson Valley towns? Any smack talking or is it all peace and love?

– We really don’t know too much about the other art scenes in the Hudson Valley, having a child and a variety of businesses/projects doesn’t give us much social time outside our own town. We hear good things though and we are not aware of any rivalries…

One thing I was impressed with my visit to Beacon was how nice everyone was. I didn’t get any sort of city attitude vibe one can pick up while walking around Manhattan? Is that vibe really there?

– yeah, people here are for the most part very nice and small town like…

Who are your favorite Beacon artists? Do you have links to their web sites to share maybe?

– Some of our favorite Beacon Artists are Rick Price (, Erica Hauser(, Tom Moore ( , and Jim Zellinger (

What are your plans for Open Space? Anything on the horizon?

– So many ideas…maybe a bookshop, another Electric Windows event, more events, more community based art projects, who knows we never seem to run out of ways to keep busy

Any words of wisdom you’d like to pass on for someone looking to maybe open a space or for artists in general?

– Don’t do it for the money : )


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