How is the project operated?
We are artist-run.
How long has it been in existence?
Our first show was November 2010.
What was your motivation?
COOP began, from my recollection, from conversations between artists in Nashville (some of whom are COOP members) as a way to help continue to elevate artistic discourse in Nashville. It was, and continues to be, an act of generous optimism from artists who call Nashville home and want to see the “scene” grow and mature. Big thanks to Ron Lambert and Ruth Zelanski who organized us so effectively the first couple of years.
Number of organizers/responsible persons of the project.
Approximately 20 members by invitation on an annual basis.
How are programs funded?
Each member pays monthly dues, out of their own pocket in order to keep the lights on. This, perhaps to me, is the most compelling part of the story of COOP (although perhaps not the best financial decision); that artists, who are generally over-extended for time and money (that’s on a good day), care so much about good work being seen in Nashville that we are willing to pay to make it happen.
Who is responsible for the programming?
All of the member artists work as curators and directors for the space, sharing and rotating duties.
Number and average duration of exhibitions/events per year.
We have about one show per month.
What kind of events are usually organized?
We commit to an opening reception, artist talks at area universities, and in some cases a question/answer on the web site.
How is your programming determined?
We have meetings to talk about potential artists and view their work, then decide by vote twice per year. Geography, physical space (in terms of COOP –we are very small) and medium all play a role on any given vote. We sometimes will think about programming alongside an in-town conference or workshop.
Do you accept proposals/submissions?
What is your artistic/curatorial approach?
COOP was formed through a level of mutual respect for each member, though expertise and interests vary. Because of this trust and respect, most ideas for exhibitions are entertained and welcomed.
What’s working? What’s not working?
Location works, as the Arcade has a good amount of traffic during openings, and promises to be an ever-growing “center” for galleries in the city.
What kind of role do you hope to play in your local art scene or community?
From our mission statement:
Coop is a curatorial collective made up of artists, curators, thinkers and professors who are committed to expanding Nashville’s dialogue with contemporary art by presenting challenging new or under-represented artists/artworks in the community. COOP is committed to exhibiting art of diverse media and content, with a goal to provide an alternative venue for artists free from the constraints of the retail market. COOP seeks to initiate a discourse between Nashville and art scenes across the country by inviting artists to show, develop projects and interact with the Nashville community.
What idea are you most excited about for the future?
The space has been running for two years now, coming upon the third season. As we catch our breath in terms of programming and timelines, we aim to give stipends to artists, motivate more interns in the area, and see more art!
Oh, and there is an upcoming Robot Apocalypse!
Images courtesy of COOP.