Open Hours: First Friday of each month, 6PM – 10PM, Saturdays and Sundays from 2PM – 6PM
Grizzly Grizzly’s ongoing mission is to blur organizational lines, promote community, and –above all–take risks. In our intimate exhibition space, we build new connections between artists, curators and our greater community, here in Philadelphia and beyond.
Grizzly Grizzly is an artist-run project space.
Grizzly Grizzly was founded in 2009.
What was your motivation?
As an artist collective, we are always looking for ways to do creative programming – things that we can do because we are independent artists and not large institutions, 501c3s or commercial spaces. As often as we can, we try to implement our creative problem solving skills to our working process in Grizzly Grizzly. This takes the form of things like curatorial pairing between members or large-scale projects like Community Supported Art. As individuals, we all see Grizzly Grizzly as an extension of our own art practice.
We currently have six members – Michael Konrad, Jacque Liu, Ruth Scott, Mary Smull, Cindy Stockton Moore, and Josh Weiss.
A combination of membership fees, public funding via donations, small grants, and commission on sales.
Our members are responsible for all Grizzly Grizzly’s programming. We use an ad-hoc approach; no one person is the director of the organization.
We program 11 month-long exhibitions and one “one-night only” performance event (each year in August) at our gallery space. We participate in an average of three additional programs and/or exhibitions as well, either exchange exhibitions with other artist-run galleries, or community programs (like the Grizzly Grizzly/Tiger Strikes Asteroid Art Community Supported Art) that extend beyond our project space.
On the first Friday of every month we have openings where the artist/s and community can look and talk about the new artwork on display. Sometimes we will organize an artist talk during gallery opening hours. There are other galleries in the same building so it is a perfect opportunity to see what our fellow galleries are doing.
We recently launched the CSA (Community Supported Art) program in Philadelphia. Grizzly Grizzly and Tiger Strikes Asteroid, commissioned nine artists to make 50 “shares” for this program. Interested consumers/collectors purchased a share (aka a “membership” or a “subscription”) and in return they received 3 “farm boxes” of locally produced artwork at pick up events in our gallery spaces and in a communal printmaking workshop.
During August we host Hot August Night – the one-night-only” performance event that showcases live performance works from a select group of artists – usually living in the Philadelphia region.
All of our programming decisions are made within the group – no one member has an assigned month of pure curatorial control. It’s an amorphous process that changes from show to show, but we talk over the big ideas behind exhibitions during monthly meetings. Someone will bring up a concept/artist as a starting point, and we will follow the thread where it leads. It’s not the most time-effective or conflict-free method – we make it a point to stray away from true consensus. But it makes for great discussions and some truly surprising shows. The ad-hoc way we work is part of what keeps the programming fresh.
Do you accept proposals/submissions?
Yes, Grizzly Grizzly is always accepting and reviewing proposal and submissions. The space has shown numerous submission artists in the past, and will be showing new proposals shows and submission artists in the upcoming months. Grizzly has also hosted guest curators: “Duett,” curated by Becky Hunter and “Warrior Dash,” curated by Fran Holstrom. Submissions and proposals can be sent to: firstname.lastname@example.org
Grizzly Grizzly departs a little from the conventional collective gallery space model. We are all active, working artists – but we’ve chosen not to show our own members’ work within Grizzly’s walls. We all believe that artists-curating-artists create unexpected exhibitions and programs; our intimate understanding of the studio drives our discourse. The artists we feature are all making work we’re excited about, and we want to share that with our community. We each bring ideas to the table, of artists to exhibit, or new programming to implement. The group engages in a debate, often generating new ideas during the course of the discussion. We don’t expect to come to consensus – in fact, we tend to avoid anything wrought too easily. Our gallery is a diminutive, quirky, windowless box, with a column near one of the walls – many of our artists make new work to engage with our unusual site.
It’s a very exciting time to be an emerging artist in Philadelphia. We seemed to have reached a point where artists are less interested in vying over the same galleries and shows and jobs and more interested in focusing their energies on various forms of creative and culturally enriching activities. This takes the form of artist-run spaces, artist-run magazines, artist-run think tanks, etc. Grizzly Grizzly is one of these spaces. Our hope is that we can consistently offer innovative programming by creating an atmosphere conducive to new ideas.
Grizzly Grizzly is very much interested in the idea of promoting Philadelphia’s independent art scene and cultivating its audience. Primarily this means bringing emerging artists (both local and from elsewhere) to exhibit in Philadelphia, but lately we’ve been getting more excited about expanding our visibility through exchange exhibitions with other artist-run spaces and continuing successful innovations such as the Community Supported Art program which fosters a more engaged network of art collectors.
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