Transformazium at the Braddock Carnegie Library
Address: 419 Library Street, Braddock, PA 15104
Website: www.transformazium.org, www.braddocklibrary.org
Open Hours: Mondays 10-5, Tues, Wed, and Thurs. 11-7pm, Friday 10-5, Saturday 9 – 4
How is the project operated?
Transformazium is an artist-run project that collaborates with neighborhood individuals and organizations using several formal and informal sponsorship models. The Braddock Carnegie Library is a not-for-profit organization.
How long has it been in existence?
Transformazium has been in existence for 5 years. The Braddock Carnegie Library is the first Carnegie Library in the country, built in 1889.
What was your motivation?
Transformazium is an arts-based collaboration with a focus on creative communication, local resource exchange, enacting radical models of education, and incorporating art making and critical art dialogue with a meaningful acknowledgement of the roles that art plays in a neighborhood and the ways that it intersects with social and economic stratification in the places we live. Transformazium members moved from New York City to North Braddock and Braddock, PA in 2007 with the hope that the ideals and principles of action that we were and are passionate about would have more room to grow in a neighborhood setting with a different scale of space and economy. For the past three years we have partnered with the Braddock Carnegie Library to reactivate the under utilized spaces of the library building with limited financial resources and creative arts programming.
Number of organizers/responsible persons of the project.
3 core members with multiple neighborhood partners and advisors
How are programs funded?
Our approach to funding is determined by the type of program we are working on. In the past we have realized our projects through local and regional grants, contributions from individuals, volunteer labor, art sales, resource exchange and through our own investment of money earned from outside work.
Who is responsible for the programming?
Dana Bishop-Root, Ruthie Stringer and Leslie Stem.
Number and average duration of exhibitions/events per year.
Weekly open studio hours in the Neighborhood Print Shop on Saturdays from 9:30-3. Several youth education programs throughout the year. Monthly Art in the Library exhibitions. Two year-long artist residency programs per year. Multiple special events organized with the Braddock Carnegie Library.
What kind of events are usually organized?
The Neighborhood Print Shop located in the Braddock Carnegie Library is a teaching and learning studio that offers a range of design and print resources for individuals and organizations of all levels of screen-printing experience. Education programs in the print shop emphasize visual literacy, the power of self-representation and active communication, and creative models of entrepreneurship.
The Arts in the Library series presents the work of local and regional artists in the main library space with a public reception each month. The Resident Artist in Residence program invites a local person who may or may not self identify as an artist to utilize the resources of the library to produce a body of work. The Homecoming Residency invites an artist currently living in an art center such as NYC or LA who has had to leave the place that they are from in order to pursue an art career to return to
a neighborhood setting and create work in response to a locality separate from the art market.
Do you accept proposals/submissions?
We are always interested in potential collaborations.
What is your artistic/curatorial approach?
Art is a field created by multiple voices and perspectives. Making art and talking about art can change the ways that we see the world, the ways we see ourselves in it, and the ways that the world sees us. By opening new avenues for active and engaged communication, self-representation and dialogue, art can be a social, political and economic agent of change.
What’s working? What’s not working?
Through five years of committed work, we feel like we are at home in our neighborhood and have truly generous and generative relationships with our neighbors. These relationships have guided our projects and provided inspiration, energy and all types of resources. Our challenges include our limited capacity and fitting our programs into existing funding streams.
What idea are you most excited about for the future?
We are developing an Art Lending Library within the Braddock Carnegie Library that will make a wide variety of prints, photographs, paintings, posters and hang-able art objects available for check-out to anyone with a library card. We are also excited about our shared 1 1/2 acre garden that we have recently planted with fruit trees and where we are almost finished building a super adobe dome gathering space.
Images courtesy of Transformazium.
James McAnally is the executive editor and co-founder of Temporary Art Review. A graduate of Washington University, James McAnally is a founder, Co-Director, and Curator of The Luminary Center for the Arts, a nonprofit artist resourcing organization based in St. Louis. In his personal practice, he works as part of the artistic collaborative US English.