Lack of space and access to resources for art-making are perennial problems for arts communities across the US. Here in Austin, rising rents and private development have resulted in the loss of gallery spaces, iconic performance and music venues, and rehearsal and artist studios, making it challenging for the artistic community to create and present new work. In response, many artists create pieces designed for unusual venues and sites across the city—work that is portable and adaptable and embraces these alternative spaces. At Fusebox, we’re currently exploring sites that would provide long-term affordable space for artists and arts organizations in Austin, as well as, potentially, a permanent home for our organization. Since we’re currently collaborating with partners to imagine what this space might look like, we wanted the first issue of our new digital publication to convene conversations about the potentials and limitations of space for art-making in Austin, in the broader Texas community, and in like-minded organizations like the Chocolate Factory in Queens, New York. These conversations about space for artists cannot be had without an awareness of the displacement that has shaped the lives of so many communities in our city. We talk to activist scholars and archivists doing the work of documenting these rapidly disappearing spaces. The contributions to this issue, which take the form of essays, interviews, and podcasts, point to a hunger and a need for newly imagined spaces, alternative spaces, and, ultimately, new ways of being together. Content will roll out over the course of the next month, so keep checking back, but for now here’s a taste of what’s in store:
Daniel Sack, editor of the recent book Imagined Theatres, which brings together over a hundred visions for the theatre by artists, scholars, and curators, talks about the origins of the project and the urgent need for imagination.
Browse through a selection of imagined theatres by Tim Etchells, Minou Arjomand, Broderick D.V. Chow, Claire MacDonald, Ant Hampton, Brian Eugenio Herrera, Cherríe L. Moraga, Darren O’Donnell, Sylvan Oswald, and Jen Harvie.
We'll also be releasing podcast episodes 1-5, so stay tuned! EPISODE 1: Introducing Written & Spoken. EPISODE 2: Andy Field, Deborah Pearson, and Ira Brand of Forest Fringe on the exciting, undetermined future of their organization beyond its venue.
EPISODE 3: Director of Community Engagement at the Guthrie Theatre Carra Martinez on the history of performance and activism in East Austin and her work on the ThinkEast Project. EPISODE 4: Priscilla Hale, director of allgo Austin, on the organization’s 32-year history creating space across Texas for queer people of color with programs that integrate cultural arts, wellness, and social justice.