Address: 732 N 4th Street, Springfield, Illinois, 62702
Contact: Allison Lacher and Jeff Robinson
Open Hours: Saturday, 1:00-4:00pm or by appointment
How is the project operated?
DEMO Project is an artist-run space for contemporary art that exists within a transformed bungalow. The first exhibiting artist, Betsy Odom, aptly described DEMO Project as “an erased domestic space.” The house is entirely donated to the DEMO Project team by the Springfield Art Association to develop as an experimental venue for contemporary art.
How long has it been in existence?
DEMO Project launched in September 2013 with the knowledge that the structure was (and remains) slated for demolition. As the Springfield Art Association makes progress on their capital campaign fundraising goals, DEMO Project will inevitably come down to pave the way for a new community studio facility and classroom.
What was your motivation?
DEMO Project was established to offer a consistent presence of contemporary art to the community of Springfield, to contribute to the regional/Midwest culture of contemporary art, and to create opportunity for contemporary artists. Number of organizers/responsible persons of the project. DEMO Project was founded in 2013 by Brad Balster, Judah Johnson, Shane Harris, Allison Lacher, and Jeff Robinson. The DEMO team acquired an additional partner, Brytton Bjorngaard, in 2015.
How are programs funded?
Because the DEMO Project facility is fully donated, the artists that facilitate the space have been able to support the effort largely out-of- pocket and through personal resources over the past three years. Gallery visitors offer support through donations. At times, community partners have served as sponsors for some exhibits. The Springfield Art Association and the University of Illinois Springfield (UIS) Visual Arts Gallery have been our strongest community supporters and our most consistent exhibition sponsors. The UIS Visual Arts Gallery has frequently partnered with DEMO Project to bring DEMO artists to campus as visiting artists.
Who is responsible for the programming?
The DEMO Project team reviews proposals/submissions for DEMO Project once a year to select/schedule artists for roughly half of the exhibition slots. Remaining spots are left unscheduled for the gradual development of curatorial initiatives and/or invited solo or group exhibitions.
Number and average duration of exhibitions/events per year.
Historically, DEMO Project has presented eleven exhibitions each year: every month, February through December. In May of 2016, DEMO Project launched a second gallery along with expanded programming that relies on the grounds surrounding DEMO Project and the exterior of the home itself. This development enables DEMO Project to offer more programming each year and to bring even more contemporary art/artists to Central Illinois.
Do you accept proposals/submissions?
DEMO Project accepts proposals for both DEMO Project exhibition spaces and the ground on a rolling basis, and a call is announced each year.
What is your artistic/curatorial approach?
DEMO Project strives to curate a variety of programming that reflects visual trends and topical themes in contemporary art. As a non-commercial and experimental space, we promote risk-taking. Exhibitions can range from large scale and site-specific installation projects to minimal exhibitions that focus on the presentation of singular works. There is a particular interest in projects that engage the identity of the space, be it the architecture, history, or impending demolition. That said, DEMO Project also curates exhibits outside of those interests to truly present a range of programming.
Images courtesy of DEMO Project.