Address: Founded at 1511 Guilford Ave, #B303, Baltimore, MD 21202
Moving this month to 502 W. Franklin St, Baltimore, MD 21201
Contact: Hunter Bradley and Amelia Szpiech
Open Hours: Saturdays 1-4 pm (although this may be changing with our relocation)
How is the project operated?
Springsteen is an artist-run gallery.
How long has it been in existence?
We officially had our first show in April 2013, Dust-Off. We began renovating the space and conceptualizing the gallery about six months before that.
What was your motivation?
For as long as we have lived in Baltimore, we have known it to have a strong sense of productivity, a DIY sensibility. People make things happen here, and your friends, peers, and community tend to respond and respect that.
We had recently graduated from MICA and were both interested in creating our own curatorial platform. We also wanted to expand our practice and broaden our engagement with artists and the community. We each took exhibition design and curatorial studies so we naturally had the urge to curate in a nonacademic environment. There were artists whose work we wanted to see realized on a larger scale. It has been a lot of hard work, but the space grew quite organically. Also, it’s a lot of fun – we love getting to meet and work with artists from Baltimore and other cities. There are several sides: facilitating artists’ ideas into realization, bringing work from other cities to an audience here, as well as getting Baltimore artists’ work to a wider audience.
Number of organizers/responsible persons of the project.
It is just the two of us – Hunter Bradley and Amelia Szpiech, although we have two amazing interns, Maya Ragazzo and Grace Davis, who help out with openings and events, and our friends and community have been invaluable support.
How are programs funded?
For the most part, the program is funded by a labor-of-love. While we do sell work from almost every show, it is not enough to quit our day (and night) jobs. We can sometimes pay gallery rent with gallery money, but there are many expenses involved in running the program.
Who is responsible for the programming?
Hunter and I direct and organize all of the programming. We had one guest curator in 2013, Max Guy, who was fantastic to work with. Alex Ito is curating a show this spring/summer, and we tentatively have one or two more guest curators this upcoming year as well. We think it is important to include some different perspectives in our program. A lot of our practice in programming involves collaboration and trust with the artists we work with. We naturally wanted to extend that into curating also.
Do you accept proposals/submissions?
Number and average duration of exhibitions/events per year.
In 2013 we organized six shows, while in 2014 we organized four shows, participated in two art fairs (NADA New York and the Baltimore Alternative Art Fair), and collaborated on a lecture with the Contemporary. Each show is usually 4-5 weeks long, although we have had a couple projects in the gallery that were up for just a week or two. These are usually in conjunction with the art walk, Alloverstreet, and these projects usually consist of temporary or experimental works.
What is your artistic/curatorial approach?
Thus far our program has consisted of mostly solo and two-person shows with a few group shows woven in. We have found that working with artists within a focused context really allows them to fully realize an idea or body of work, which is really exciting. For many of them the work had not even been made yet, but we were interested in their ideas and the presentation possibilities posed in their proposals.
What’s working? What’s not working?
One of our biggest challenges has been living on the other side of the gallery. We moved into a large warehouse space in the Copycat building and built Springsteen on one side and partitioned off the back area for our living quarters. The Copycat has a long history of housing many artists and musicians and has acted as an incubator for many creative people in Baltimore. I don’t think the gallery would have happened in any other context, it was such an organic process. However, running Springsteen is a full time job and living in such close quarters with a consuming project can be extremely taxing.
Almost at our two year mark, we decided to move the gallery into a storefront, mainly to increase our accessibility and also to be closer to several other galleries and project spaces. We are super excited to be transitioning into another space in the new year.
What idea are you most excited about for the future?
Besides our new space, we have some great programming planned both here and in New York. Our first show in the new gallery will be the collaborative team Wickerham & Lomax (formerly known as Duox), which consists of Daniel Wickerham and Malcolm Lomax. After that, Flannery Silva will have a solo show, and then Alex Ito will be curating a group show at the beginning of the summer. In July we will be curating a show at Interstate Projects (Brooklyn) as part of their summer curatorial program U:L:O:.
Images courtesy of Springsteen.