Tuesday, December 27, 2016

SITE VISIT #5 Lia Gangitano and Participant Inc

2016! The Dirt Palace is getting strategic (making a plan)! 
As part of this process we're visiting some organizations/space that we admire and hope to learn from. 

This post is part of a series of profiles of spaces that we have visited. This project is 
supported by the Robert Rauschenberg Foundation.

PARTICIPANT INC : Interview with Executive Director, Lia Gangitano
(the basement office)
At a Glance
Founded: Participant Inc was founded in December 2001 as an educational corporation and not-for-profit alternative space
Budget: $300k
Board of Directors: 17
Board of Advisors: 17
Founded in December 2001 as an educational corporation and not-for-profit alternative space, PARTICIPANT INC seeks to provide a venue in which artists, curators, and writers can develop, realize, and present ambitious projects within a context that recognizes the social and cultural value of artistic experimentation. The mission of PARTICIPANT INC is to serve artists through in-depth consideration, presentation, and the publishing of critical writing; and to introduce this work into public contexts through exhibitions, screenings, performances, and educational programs. Our mission builds upon alternative space methodologies, particularly a commitment to interdisciplinary, intergenerational exhibition making, and an insistence upon placing together, in one space, work from various mediums — encouraging the coexistence of visual and time-based art. The programming priorities of PARTICIPANT INC reflect the premise that artists produce significant work through a deep relationship with an organization whose focus is its committed collaborations with them. By encouraging experimentation and project-based exhibitions for artists at many different stages of their careers, PARTICIPANT INC strives to address the changing context of alternative arts presenting and to respond responsibly to the diverse practices of artists.


We knew that meeting with Participant Inc’s director, Lia Gangitano, would be inspiring, but weren’t quite prepared for her idiosyncratic perspective on the work done by Participant. For god’s sake, she compared the approach of Participant to Fassbender’s film “Beware of a Holy Horror” and described herself as a “scrapbooker” when asked about Participant’s archiving practice!!!!!!!! Meeting with Lia painted a picture of a NYC alternative space as: ensemble cast, dysfunctional family, and a commitment to a labor of love. All things we could intimately relate to.

Lia had been the curator from 1997 - 2001 at Thread Waxing Space, a non-profit arts and education space, whose mission was:
To present exhibitions, performances, musical events, readings, and panel discussions by and with emerging or under-recognized artists to stimulate dialogue about the contemporary arts, to make artistic projects more accessible to the public, to encourage collaborations among different creative disciplines, to provide a venue in which artists, performers and musicians may realize ambitious projects, to educate the public about the contemporary arts in the immediate area of the Lower East Side, Soho, Tribeca, Chinatown, as well as throughout the five boroughs of New York.”

In 2001 TWS was losing their space and started a major real estate search. Eventually to the surprise of everybody, instead of announcing a new location, the director announced that it would be closing.

Lia spent time questioning and thinking hard about the continued relevance of an “alternative space” model. Commercial galleries had started to incorporate many of the approaches and concerns that had been at the core of the alternative space movement, yet were poised to leverage more resources.  With time and consideration, Lia redoubled her commitment to the “artist driven” model of Thread Waxing Space and began the process of simultaneously packing up an institution and starting a new one.

The last show at TWS with Sigalit Landau (where she constructed a room size cotton candy machine that started to rot and decay as the exhibit went on) ended in June of 2001. In September 9/11 happened and everything in NYC went into lockdown. Certain things like getting insurance became impossible, and the idea had surfaced to experiment with a nomadic model, as maintaining and paying for physical space was a huge undertaking. With consideration, Lia came to the decision that space was core to her vision for Participant. With this her vision sharpened and her commitment to starting a new project increased in intensity.

The decision to locate in the LES was based on the practicalities of that moment of time. It had been her neighborhood for years, and as post 9/11 logistics in general became more difficult, neighborliness became everything. In fact, the only way she could find an insurance carrier was through the help of long time neighbors rather than colleagues. By 2002 Lia had secured a physical space for Participant at 95 Rivington, using her severance from TWS to sign the new lease.  

With an annual operating budget currently of $300k, about a third of this is spent on rent. This is a business model that doesn’t make sense to lots of people attempting to understand it from the outside. However, conceptually the logic behind it is that as a not-for-profit, one of Participant’s goals is to broker assets that are critical to independent artists, yet often out of their reach. In NYC space itself is a resources that is necessary, scarce, and one of the things that an alternative space project, and its institutional credibility and infrastructure, can be incredibly useful in helping to navigate.

Participant was jumping off from in the 1970’s artist run space model which often involved a political imperative and a concern around what voices weren’t at the table. Not explicitly “artist run” Participant gravitated towards the term “artist driven”. Against a backdrop of diminishing resources and gentrification, Participant sought to continue the project of the original model of these past spaces; building community and growing through a network of artists bringing in other artists. In the early days of the Rivington space (Participant’s first location), the New Museum hadn’t yet moved to the area. The organization engaged a mixed audience of those seeking out art, and neighborhood passerbys.

The majority of Participant’s funding comes from private foundations. There are city and state grants in the mix, but these add up to less, and are slow to increase. Federal funding through the NEA has played a role in supporting specific projects, such as archiving and publications. One point that Lia made about funding that was interesting to note was that had she thought to (and had been able) to transfer the EIN from Thread Waxing Space to Participant, rather starting totally from scratch this would have given her an automatic leg up in the NYSCA granting pool as money to organizations is largely based on previous allocations and if you’re starting from zero, it’s a tall hill to climb with lots of hoops to jump through.

As with many small art not-for-profits (and businesses), Lia works hard to pay artists fairly, and often prioritizes paying other contributors to the project before herself. Her personal teaching, speaking, and consulting jobs often indirectly subsidize Participant.  Currently the staffing structure includes Lia as director, a publications associate, a development associate, a facilities manager, a curatorial associate, a curatorial researcher, and a web manager. Lia’s position is the only one that is full time and this fluctuates based on budget realities. She currently does not receive health insurance as part of her compensation package, though there are board members currently prioritizing this development.

A majority of the Participant board and advisory council are artists. The board meets quarterly and as needed on specific issues. There are no board dues or expectations around annual giving, however it’s fairly hands on with fundraising, editions projects and legal and logistical issues around the occupancy of the space . The board is close knit, works well together and does not involve itself with programming issues. The advisory board is located in various parts of the world and is fairly global and informal. It plays various roles including helping to tip Lia off to interesting artists, shows and work that she does not have the resources to see first hand.

Institutional knowledge and the history of Participant’s shows is fairly well documented in both paper and digital archives. Lia stressed the importance of her speaking and lecturing as an integral part of building institutional memory through documentation and dissemination, as the information is being recorded, and transmitted externally rather than just internally.

In the effort to articulate the “relevance of the small“ and the “deferred value” generated by smaller arts endeavors (ie. finding quantifiable measures and outcomes of value further down the road), Lia is part of a coalition of fairly established NY small scale alternative spaces called Common Practice. Common Practice New York draws inspiration from Common Practice, London, an affiliated advocacy group working for the recognition and fostering of the small-scale contemporary visual arts sector in England, and founder of the Common Practice Network.
The first Common Practice New York initiative included a series of three invitational roundtables on contemporary institutional practice organized in collaboration with students and faculty from the Center for Curatorial Studies at Bard College (CCS Bard), which took place in fall 2013, and a public symposium developed in response to these seminars on May 18, 2014. In 2015, nine new groups became members of Common Practice New York. Currently, the group is planning a number of new initiatives for 2016.

While we waded waist deep in the weeds of organizational systems and practices with Lia, the conceptual issue that kept surfacing in our conversation was “Do you have to be precarious to not suck?”. In other words we bumped up against that age old tension between institutional growth and stability and boringness of mission. She stressed the need to constantly re-evaluate and re-envision. This sentiment was inline with one of the more inspirational institutional practices that we heard about at this year’s Common Field convening from Director of Baltimore’s The Contemporary, Deana Haggag. The Contemporary’s board seriously discusses its mission annually, and in doing so has a built a board culture that values the process of continually evaluating their own relevance.
Within the collective structure of the Dirt Palace we hold an annual summit (an all day meeting) where we set aside time to ask big picture questions, check in on what is working and what is not, adapt and change practices. Listening to Lia was a reminder of the importance of diligent in asking these questions & building in structures that force us to consistently return to questions of relevance and purpose in crafting programs and approach.

Lia left us in a positive place in our thinking about precarity, and the challenge of cobbling together resources for small alternative spaces. “The thing about having money problems being your main problem, is that when the money comes in, the problems go away”.  Her reasoning was, that if/when the check clears, it becomes obvious that the organization, its systems, ideas, concepts, relationships etc aren’t broken at all, and that that is a good place to be. Lots of institutions and organization have huge issues that go way beyond cash flow. With Participant it’s clear that all of the “other stuff” is working really well. Its reputation is rock solid. Literally everyone who we told that we we’re doing a site visit at Participant had glowing things to say about the model, Lia’s stewardship, or some show that they’d seen there that was super exciting.

Thursday, December 22, 2016



The Dirt Palace is so deeply saddened to have lost our dear friend Nick Gomez-Hall. Our hearts go out to all who lost loved ones in the Ghost Ship Oakland fire.  The fire has been weighing on us heavily as we grieve, listen, take care of each other and hope for a future for our community of artists in a time when there are so many challenges being presented to difference of all sorts. 

Our focus has been on reflection, loving each other and holding our community close. At some point there will be things to say, memories to share, and struggles to discuss. But it’s not that moment for us yet. However it feels very important to us to acknowledge the losses so many people in our community and arts communities all over are feeling right now.
Here’s a link to Nick’s band: Nightmom.


this Sunday December 11th
4p - 5:30p Program
5:30p - 7p Informal Gathering

In conjunction with the Glenna Van Nostrand's installation in the Dirt Palace Storefront Window Gallery, a public gathering will be held at the Dirt Palace on December 11th. The event will include information about what to do in the aftermath of situations of rape and sexual assault, reflections on misogyny and the silencing of victims, particularly in the context of calling out those in positions of power, as well as information about efforts being taken to make Providence’s social, music, art and community spaces more equip to deconstruct and dismantle rape-culture.


The Dirt Palace Storefront gallery presents a video loop installation by Glenna Van Nostrand titled Whistleblower.

In the fall of 2014 Rebecca Solnit wrote in her Harper’s column Easy Chair, “Not uncommonly, when a woman says something that impugns a man, particularly a powerful one, or an institution, especially if it has to do with sex, the response will question not just the facts of her assertion but her capacity to speak and her right to do so. Generations of women have been told they are delusional, confused, manipulative, malicious, conspiratorial, congenitally dishonest, often all at once.” (Harpers, Cassandra among the Creeps October 2014) In 2016 we have witnessed the silencing, pathologizing, and dismissal of women reach new heights.

Ms. Van Nostrand’s installation is a very literal reaction to workplace sexual misconduct, while simultaneously a challenge to the current political moment. The imagery of the video is as haunting as the blatant silence of the video is jarring; the singular action in the video involves an physical exertion to make noise. It is as if she is anticipating the tendency of our culture to interrogate and undermine the integrity of the voice of a woman coming forward to speak about sexual abuse, and the piece refuses to offer sound that can be inverted in this way. The testimony comes in the form of presence; the insistence on visibility. One can not not watch. The piece may first appear to be one quick endless loop. However, on closer viewing, the video is actually four short pieces that loop as a sequence. Where her eyes are directed is subtle but important. The eyes begin diverted, they squint as force is expended blowing on the whistle. There is an external cry being communicated through facial expressions, but the trauma is held in. By the last video, the eyes pierce out, demanding contact and acknowledgement between the viewer and the whistleblower. The video is uncomfortable, but it’s necessary thematically to play again and again in an endless loop. This repetition plays on the an occurrence common to victims of traumatic acts, the mind loops events and memories, becoming stuck in a unresolved cycle.

Van Nostrand’s project is a public work with three inter-related public components: the video that we’ve been discussing, posters like the one below that provide definitions of terms critical to this piece (whistle-blower, rape & nonconsensual), and a public gathering that will be held at the Dirt Palace on December 11th. The event will include information about what to do in the aftermath of situations of rape and sexual assault, reflections on misogyny and the silencing of victims, particularly in the context of calling out those in positions of power, as well as information about efforts being taken to make Providence’s social, music, art and community spaces more equip to deconstruct and dismantle rape-culture.

Ho Ho Ho Happy Holidays!!!!
looking for that perfect gift for that special someone???
look no further than the Dirt Palace Holiday Sale!

DP members past and present, as well as friends of the Palace, will be peddling their wares for you merry shoppers!

We will be serving desserts and beverages to quench your thirst and hunger while you shop. Proceeds from which will go to support travel expenses for Providence community members dealing with loss in the Oakland Ghost Ship fire.

Dirt Palace Library is home to an extensive collection of zines and comics, magazines and odd books, and will be open for perusal during the sale.

Music, DJs, maybe even a few live renditions of holiday classics!

Get in the holiday spirit while supporting local artists and enjoying the company of good friends :
Sunday December 18th
2p - 7p
Drinks! Treats! Pics with "Santa"!

O Horvath / Swords Inverted
Alison Nitkiewicz
Daniella Ben Bassat / Club Darnell
Nina Ruelle
Xander Marro
Pippi Zornoza
Glenna Van Nostrand / Aura Photography
Mimi Chrzanowski / Babytown
Cathy Johnson
Kristina Brown
Mickey Zacchilli / Price Tapes
Simon Slowinski
Mindy Stock / Moon by Moon Apothecary
Anapurna Himal Wagnger/ Sleazy Seagull
and more!!!

Wednesday, November 16, 2016


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  Now feels like an important time to hold chosen family and community close, we're sending out our love and care and rage to you all


Thursday November 17th
with performances, video, and readings by:
Chrissy Jones, Neve Cross with Hannah Devine, TASKMASTER, O Horvath, Alison Nitkiewicz
Xander Marro, Bridget Feral, Nina Ruelle and RECTRIX
$5 - $10 donation


Lindsay Beebe is a Poet, Painter, Curator, Actress, Teacher, Singer, and Direct Support Professional living in Providence, Rhode Island.  In 2004 Lindsay graduated from Rhode Island School of Design and moved to New Orleans, LA where she worked on the creative team that built floats for Mardi Gras and a handful of other Large Scale Parades.

Some of the techniques used in "The Mermaid Windows" installation at the Dirt Palace were learned during that experience.  The 3-Dimensional sculptural elements of the Mermaid torso and Tail are the main examples of the "Mardi-Gras technique".  What makes this particular style a desired method of sculpture building is that the main material used is cardboard, which is *cheap* and **lightweight**.  These larger sculptures can be lifted with one hand yet sturdy enough to withstand a few bumps and light crashes.

Lindsay was also exposed to the NYC Broadway experience when she was in her pre teen formative years and became captivated by set design, story telling through song lyrics, character development for the stage, and PROPS!  The Mermaid Windows incorporates elements of inspiration from stage design and set building as well as story telling and character personality.  Being a painter of extra large, loud, energetic, sometimes Bombastic yet always Intentional colorful art, Lindsay is used to filling a space with texture, line, color (and **BLING**).  
Lindsay finds inspiration in her current work as a Direct Support Professional for adults living with developmental and intellectual disabilities and is in the process of developing her practice into that of a licensed Art Therapist.  She thanks the Dirt Palace for this Awesome opportunity! XOXO LBB


Felt, Staples, Cardboard, Contact Cement, Wood, Screws, Paper Mache, Tag Board, Newsprint, Glow in the Dark Paint, Black Light Sensitive Paint, Strobe Light, Tulle, Craft Butterflies, Sticky Back Glitter Paper, Recycled Items, Glass Vases, Bobbers, Food Coloring, Live Beta Fish (still alive now my pet), Model Magic, Acrylic Paint, Yarn, Gold Leaf, Colored Cellophane, Plastic Bling, Glitter, Spray Paint, Glow Sticks, Black Light, L.E.D.'s, Fog Machine, Mirrors, Shells, Starfish, Pumpkins, Love <3


Alt-Comic Con Gives Providence Kids a Ticket-Free Taste of Creative Arts & Pop Culture       
Big Nazo, Comics Consortium and Local Artists Gather to Entertain and Inspire Youth
The RI Comic Con is a major event in the Rhode Island calendar but many Providence kids and teens can't buy tickets or travel to the big convention. That's  why Providence Community Library hosted Alt-Comic Con at Mount Pleasant Library on Saturday, November 12th, 1:00PM-5:00PM; to give youth a taste of convention day excitement. Suitable for all ages, "Alternative" Comic Con is a free, interactive event that provides local youth with a chance to meet and be inspired by city artists who are actively pursuing creative careers.
The library transformed into a mini convention hall; Big Nazo showed off some of its amazing creature creations, Providence Comics Consortium exhibited comic books created by kids at its workshops and Providence Roller Derby girls dropped by to support a discussion of Victoria Jamieson's bestselling graphic novel, "Roller Girl." Artists from Providence Comics Consortiumcreated a display in the Dirt Palace Storefront Window Gallery and Providence City Arts for Youth was on hand to add to the creative flavor of the day. The Dirt Palace's Own Olivia Horvath led a gif making workshop (see some awesome gif's made at the event below).
"The idea is to introduce kids and teens to people and organizations in Providence who are working creatively in the fields of technology, art and pop culture" said event organizer Emily LeMay. "We hope that they will inspire young people to pursue artistic endeavors and possibly consider pursuing a career in creative arts" she added.     




Sagan Youth-Surface
Watch the Video
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Chrissy has been working on illustrations in collaboration with writer Vi Khi Nao.
Tba new vocal project and videos
and is making zine of short stories coming out this week

O had fun at the Providence Alt Comic Con making animations with kids and their family! Check out everyone's awesome work at oliviahorvath.com/comiccon!

O will be tabling at COMIC ARTS LOS ANGELES on December 3rd and 4th at LA's Think Tank Gallery! More details at comicartsla.com.

This has been out for a while...but not since we've done a digest! so here it is: the new DMNS press book!!

Freedom's just another word for legs with a mind of their own. Fantastic book for travel and plotting escape plans! Sometimes you just have to go, and/or sometimes you look around and realize that you've been left behind.
As part three of a book series that presents thematic collections of writing & pictures by visual artists, musicians,performers, and people who have some affiliation with a broad and vaguely defined "world of art", DMNS presents: Leaving. Perfect bound. 184 pages, RISO printed silkscreened cover on flocked paper. Contributers = a stacked deck of mostly Rhode Islanders past/present/future: Paul McCarthy, Sam Lopes, Rick Benjamin, Kevin Hooyman, Jacob Khepler, Ron Rege Jr, Maren Jensen, Jo Dery, Jieun Reiner, Jim Drain, Cybele Colins, Anabel Vazquez, Jed Hancock & Rebecca Noon, Erik Ruin, Rebecca Seimering, S. Hollis Mickey, J.R. Uretsky, Dailen Willliams, Bob Arellano, Jim Frain, Mark Baumer, and Alan Powell.

Available at Ada books or buy here: dmnspress.com

Daniella performed as Taskmaster at Bach To The Future and had a great time. She is gearing up for a performance at the Dirt Palace Showcase, and recently made a UFO information packet comprised of drawings of UFO sightings from YouTube videos.
UFO info
Watch the Video

Nina has been zooming in and out a lot lately (remember that movie, Powers of Ten?). For a while she was working at MASS MoCA, installing Nick Cave's show, "Until...". Now she's back in her own studio, playing with patterns and trying not to put all her eggs in one basket.


Alison will be screening a new video at the Dirt Palace House Showcase....if she can finish editing it in time!


ANNIHILVS has released the VVLTVRE 2009 EP My Will is to Self Destruct on CD and it is subsequently sold out on their site.  However, Copies are still available here
RECTRIX, The Sound of It Hammering Against the Skirts performance
Watch the Video

Live Video from the Sound of It Hammering Against the Skirts, RECTRIX performance this summer
at Grace Performance Space in Brooklyn. Collaborators include: Alison Nitkiewicz, Chrissy Wolpert
Rebecca Mitchell, Neve Cross and the bell singers

RECTRIX will be performing Saturday December 4th at Tommy's Place
with Taboo & AxTx and friends


Bridget is still in Europe, but home in a few days. She played some shows irl and on the radio, taught a circuitry workshop, and found old and new friends (mostly in Berlin but also some other places like Leeds and Paris). She is now in Reykjavík, where she did sound for some truly amazing performances by the Bedroom Community musicians during Iceland Airwaves last week, and since then has been spending lots of time lurking about in her most beloved recording studio.


SR is still terribly far away at the Women's Studio Workshop in Rosendale, NY. She has been casting lost socks in paper, working on a stack of abaca cushions, and printing an edition of mezzotints. This work will be featured in the exhibition Becoming, Part One (with Molly Berkson and Chloe Horsma) opening at WSW on December 2nd.



This Hi-Lite just in from our pal Sheryl-Ann Simpson! New Migrant Cities is a look at how immigrants are incorporated in neighborhoods in three countries: Canada, the US, and Denmark. The US neighborhood being considered & compared and contrasted is Olneyville!

Ken's Funeral ///ur dreams are my nightmeows/// forward to a friend

Friday, November 4, 2016

Site Visit #4 Lauren Rosati - Exit Art, Alternative Histories

2016! The Dirt Palace is getting strategic (making a plan)! 
As part of this process we're visiting some organizations/space that we admire and hope to learn from. 

This post is part of a series of profiles of spaces that we have visited. This project is 
supported by the Robert Rauschenberg Foundation.

EXIT ART: ALTERNATIVE HISTORIES New York Art Spaces, 1960-2010


Interview with editor Lauren Rosati:
This groundbreaking book—part exhibition catalogue, part cultural history—chronicles alternative art spaces in New York City since the 1960s. Developed from an exhibition of the same name at Exit Art, Alternative Histories documents more than 130 alternative spaces, groups, and projects, and the significant contributions these organizations have made to the aesthetic and social fabric of New York City. Alternative art spaces offer sites for experimentation for artists to innovate, perform, and exhibit outside the commercial gallery-and-museum circuit. In New York City, the development of alternative spaces was almost synonymous with the rise of the contemporary art scene. Beginning in the 1960s and early 1970s, it was within a network of alternative sites—including 112 Greene Street, The Kitchen, P.S.1, FOOD, and many others—that the work of young artists like Yvonne Rainer, Vito Acconci, Gordon Matta-Clark, Ana Mendieta, David Wojnarowicz, David Hammons, Adrian Piper, Martin Wong, Jimmie Durham, and dozens of other now familiar names first circulated.

Through interviews, photographs, essays, and archival material, Alternative Histories tells the story of such famous sites and organizations as Judson Memorial Church, Anthology Film Archives, A.I.R. Gallery, El Museo del Barrio, Franklin Furnace, and Eyebeam, as well as many less well-known sites and organizations. Essays by the exhibition curators and scholars, and excerpts of interviews with alternative space founders and staff, provide cultural and historical context.

At a Glance
Founded: 1982-2012 by Jeanette Ingberman & Papo Colo
Budget: $6mil annually
Staff: 6
Board of Directors: 17
Board of Advisors: 17

Mission: Exit Art is an independent vision of contemporary culture prepared to react immediately to important issues that affect our lives. We do experimental, historical and unique presentations of aesthetic, social, political and environmental issues. We absorb cultural differences that become prototype exhibitions. We are a center for multiple disciplines. Exit Art is a 28-year-old cultural center in New York City founded by Directors Jeanette Ingberman and Papo Colo. It has grown from a pioneering alternative art space into a model artistic center for the 21st century committed to supporting artists whose quality of work reflects the transformations of our culture. Exit Art is internationally recognized for its unmatched spirit of inventiveness and consistent ability to anticipate the newest trends in the culture. With a substantial reputation for curatorial innovation and depth of programming in diverse media, Exit Art is always changing.

Our favorite graffiti in Providence: someone tagged just the word “LIVE”, only to be tagged later by someone else who scrawled “because it lasts a long time”. While there are varying ways to interpret this, as long-term types, we always like think of it as a weird variation of, “if you hang in long enough, you’ll get to see cool things happen. This was our feeling getting to meet with Lauren Rosati to discuss Exit Art and other organizations. Lauren, when we first met her years ago as a young native Rhode Islander, living at AS220 and writing a graduate paper on RI Art Spaces and relational aesthetics is now someone who’s done some of the most extensive and respected research in the field of Alternative Arts Space. What a joy to get to discuss the history of NYC’s changing alternative spaces trajectory with someone who also deeply understands the subtleties and complexity of the Rhode Island arts ecosystem!

Lauren starts out by giving us her quick but elegant overview of the Alternative space movement. She tells us: It has it’s roots in avant-garde 1960’s experimentalism spearheaded by people like Cage and Rauschenberg, concerns around multiculturalism and civil rights, giving a voice to underrepresented people and creative practices. It’s not always about physical space but sometimes takes the form of magazines, nomadic collectives, public art. In recent years it’s become a strategy for navigating space scarcity and arts approaches stunted by the New York money machine.

A thing that was interesting and unique, in the context of our site-visits, about talking to Lauren, was that she could draw on knowledge of a variety of different organizations and talk frankly about how different approaches to a variety of things including transitions panned out. The type of transition that is often the most visible and puts organizations in the most vulnerable places is of course leadership transitions, particularly transitions from founder/directors to a second generation of leadership.  Lauren characterized there as being three basic outcomes of these situations: 1) The organization doesn’t survive. Sometime this is by design - Perhaps the founders/board aren’t particularly interested in seeing it survive beyond themselves for a variety of reasons. Perhaps they recognize that developed projects into their 2nd generation of leadership often require a lot of resources and want to see said resources go into a greater number of scrappy “from the ground up” orgs or spaces. Perhaps there is a block against planning, or just poor planning, perhaps someone dies unexpectedly before there is an opportunity to plan  2) The organization survives but in a new form - perhaps people get fired or retire (sometimes founding leadership), perhaps the mission or programs gets redefined or radically expand in scope, perhaps the institution partners with another organization as a means of survival 3) The organization survives and there’s not a huge noticeable change - No big mission change, programs continue on track and the org goes on doing what it’s set out to do, sometimes with new personalities, visions and approaches, but in general things are relatively peaceful. Examples of situation #1 include Exit Art #2 The New Museum & PS1 #3 Artists Space, Art in General and The Kitchen. When asked if Lauren had any thoughts on why transition worked for the groups in category #3 she offered a couple of thoughts: boards that are professional (not just personal relationships of the ED) and support leadership appropriately, but aren’t afraid to challenge it - correspondingly ED’s who are totally transparent with the board, understanding of the audience for the project, a willingness and interest in “letting go” and letting the project grow outwards beyond the purview and control of the leadership.  

Our conversation about transition led into a discussion of the prevalent yet problematic practice in the arts of not adequately paying people. Skimping on programming or the proper compensation of staff / interns (whether through pay or credit) just doesn’t pay off for the organization in the long haul she warns. An organization is only as good as its programs and the staff that makes them happen!

Our conversation with Lauren covered such a myriad of Arts Spaces in New York.  At risk of sounding like a commercial for the Alternative Histories book, this book is really great -  you should read it!...It’s format, which consists of providing a page long profile of every space with a BIG picture, makes it a great cross-reference compendium to the Julie Ault Alternative Art New York book.

Monday, September 19, 2016

September's Soon Demise

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A festival celebrating comics, books & zines!


SATURDAY 11-4 / SUNDAY 12-5 

RIPExpo is celebrating its exciting third year! Xander Marro is a Special Guest at this year's RIPExpo and will be tabling with an exciting new anthology (more on that later in the digest....) Club Darnell and O Corp. will also be tabling..... 



Quintín Rivera Toro was born in Caguas, Puerto Rico in 1978. He holds a B.F.A. in Sculpture from Hunter College, New York - 2001; B.A. in Communications and Film Studies, from the University of Puerto Rico in Río Piedras - 2007; and an M.F.A. in Sculpture from the Rhode Island School of Design in Providence, Rhode Island - 2013. He is currently working remotely towards his Ph.D. degree in the Universitat Politécnica de Valencia, in Spain.
He has been awarded the German DAAD travel grant; A full fellowship for the Vermont Studio Center, in Johnson, Vermont; A studies grant from the National Academy of Design in New York City; He has been an artist in residence at the Ox Bow School of Art, S.A.I.C., in Saugatuck, Michigan; An intern at the Chinati Museum in Marfa, Texas; Has studied with the Escuela Internacional de Teatro de América Latina y el Caribe (E.I.T.A.L.C.) in Cuernavaca, Mexico; He was awarded an Achievement Scholarship from the Transart Institute in Berlin, Germany. An Individual Artist Grant as well as a New Genres Fellowshipfrom the Rhode Island State Council for the Arts. He received a Sylvia Leslie Young Herman Scholarship Award and Academic Honors from the Rhode Island School of Design. The New York Times has called Quintín's work "Striking Contemporary Art" and was selected for Refinery 29 's "Top 10 list of rising NYC art stars" curated by Casey Fremont.
Quintín is an adjunct Professor in the Art Department of the University of Puerto Rico in Río Piedras, and from 2017-2019 he will be an artist in residence at the University of El Turabo, in Gurabo Puerto Rico.
Quintín Rivera Toro Installation in Dirt Palace Storefront Window
Watch the Video

The ghost of the Dirt Palace haunted me since I moved to Providence in the goddam bitter cold of March 2010. As I scavenged for an art community, learning about AS 220, the RISD Sphere and the the rest of the “real” art world, the allure of a bottom up, exclusive, anarcho-feminist art space triggered my imagination in many real ways. As I rode the bus with my toddler daughter to the Empire branch public library, friends who had belonged to this art space before, told me their stories. Freezing fingers while printmaking. Crazy noise bands. Thunderbolt. It all fed my brain with an unknown world for me, which I then came to understand in some ways, years after leaving Providence. This was the punk scene, punk life, punk history, with its rich tradition of social protestation and anti institutional ways.

The opportunity to connect with the Dirt Palace, reference through this installation the musical feminist traditions, and a even deeper layer, the local spanish speaking community, all became synthesised in these two words: Oh Sombra! (Oh Shadow!), a song performed by the early rock punk feminist band from England, Electrolane. The spanish sung sonnet references the work of Juan Boscán a spaniard poet from the XVI century, who writes in a very romantic and pensive manner on the subject of dreams. Dreams such as the ones that accompanied me during my four years of Providence life, with the idea of belonging, same as many of the immigrants, locals and artists who transit Olneyville in search of art action and night life.
I fell in love with this song since I listened to it. I was introduced to it via a mix tape from a cherished fellow artist, who showed me the ways of punk music, its ethics and most of all its beauty. To this private person, this public piece is dedicated, and am forever influenced for the knowledge this brought to my life.
Finally, a BIG THANK YOU to another fellow artist, Ms. Xander Marro, for visiting Puerto Rico and spending the time to share art worlds, for inviting me to participate in the amazing Dirt Palace, central to Providence history, and for her lead by example style of leadership. Lead on Xander. You are gold punk.
Here is the incredible sonnet:

Como aquel que en soñar gusto recibe,
Su gusto procediendo de locura,
Así el imaginar con su figura vanamente su gozo en mí concibe.
Otro bien en mí, triste, no se escribe,
Si no es aquel que en mi pensar procura;
De cuanto ha sido hecho en mi ventura
Lo sólo imaginado es lo que vive.
Teme mi corazón de ir adelante,
Viendo estar su dolor puesto en celada;
Que así revuelve atrás en un instante a contemplar su gloria ya pasada.
¡Oh sombra de remedio inconstante,
Ser en mí lo mejor lo que no es nada!


TrY CAPS is a community based youth program located in the Olneyville section of Providence that exposes youths to art and culture. TRY CAPS mission is to provide arts experiences to a diverse group of youth, encourage leadership and problem solving skills; through the use of mentors, apprentice and real life experiences.

This year the members of the Try Caps 4-H Club decided they wanted to help their community by learning more about homelessness and trying to find a way to help people who are homeless. Their installation in the Dirt Palace window will reflect the past 9 months of their research and work.




BLACK MECHA will be performing in the the Montreal Red Bull Music Academy signature event:
Drone Activity in Progress

Footage of the performance remains installation of The Sound of It Hammering Against the
 at Grace Exhibition Space in New York
Sound of It Hammering Against the Skirts, Performance Remains
Watch the Video
Performance video forthcoming from the Sound of It Hammering Against the Skirts!

The VVLTVRE EP, My Will is to Self Destruct, is coming out in the next month on ANNIHILVS


The above poster titled Wallpaper for your Secret Macrame Detective Agency Black-light Room where you will look into the Future with Jodorowsky is a repeat design for the wallpaper show - which is an epic & awesome celebration of the visions of so many amazing Providence Pattern lovers, guided by the generous and very patient hand of  Taylor M. Polites - it's at 186 Carpenter - seriously, not to be missed!
In other news, see you at RIPE!!!!...Anyone want to come over and walk around in circles with me tonight (Monday). I'll be collating and drinking beer all night, and by all night I mean ALL night. I'll give you a copy of the new DMNS book Leaving, which I'm still too nervous about finishing (and superstitious) to release details about...but I swear that it's a comp of heavy hitters and you WILL want one!!! 


Daniella will be revealing some breathtaking products at the RIPExpo. Also available will be the recently unavailable Lite Rock 105 double cassettes - featuring many minutes of genuine radio programming with some broadcast-ready covers interspersed throughout. Additionally, the four-piece band that she is in, Wex, will be performing at Puffer's Fest. 


O will be at RIPExpo with some exciting new shi(r)t!!!!


New from O CORP
available in HOTT NEON SALMON and RASPBERRY GALAXY bleach splatter

available for purchase at O HORVATH WEBSTORE
local? wanna purchase online and pick up? use code "NEIGHBORS" for free shipping!

Nina spent a couple weeks down in NC as a studio assistant at the Penland School of Crafts, where she stitched a funhouse quiltscape with chase williwrm greene

Then she came back to town and had a show at the Wurks Gallery with Trina Powers to mark the completion of The Tenderness Project, a ten month long collaboration between the two that involved over sixty participants from places as close as lil rhody and as far as the Ukraine:

After that she had a solo show at AS220's Reading Room, There are so many holes to fill, which will be up until September 23rd.


Al is clinging onto summer as long as possible while also eagerly anticipating the splendor that is Fall in New England.  She was the artist for Foo Fest in August, and got to design the poster, promotional materials and photobooth!

She is also starting to work on a new short film.


Her band, Milkmaid II, is attempting to release a split by the end of the month!


Sarah Rose is still at The Women's Studio Workshop in Rosendale, NY, ever so far away from Providence. Right now she is working on a handmade paper production project for WSW, as well as her own works for upcoming shows in October and November. SR has been making metal and paper sculptures, sewing paper envelope quilts, and embroidering "lost socks." ((Look back at her website in the next couple of weeks to see some of these new works.)) The Hudson Valley is treating SR well, but she misses the Dirt Palace dearly!


Nieve is a performing artist and singer currently learning various forms of vocal expression. She is currently interested in collaborating with musicians with knowledge about experimental jazz music. Her work currently has been focused on transmisogyny, depression/mental illness, and male rape. She is working with other artists currently in Providence RI, where she has played at local venues over the past few years. She also recently sang in a part of a large piece by Pippi Zornoza at the Grace Exhibition Space in Brooklyn, NY.

Bridget is off to Europe for a couple months to play some shows with her pals Sam Slater and Wilted Woman/miss Eel and to work on the Bedroom Community 10 year anniversary show at Iceland Airwaves. She’ll be back home in November.

Her SD card album now also exists on regular old cassette tape (bridgetferal.bandcamp.com if you want one of either).



This digest's hi-lite is Second Culture Press' gorgeous HERLAND/DIRT PALACE zine! Part of their BURN DOWN AFTER READING exhibition and zine series, SSecond Culture Press (based in Ireland) paired interviews with artists' collectives with works that inspire them. The selected text that accompanies the DP interview is a selection from Charlotte Perkins Gilman's futurist feminist fantasy HERLAND. This is a beautiful littel zine and is a part of a really exciting series which we'll have in our library for perusing and plotting over.............. come visit!