Open Space

Address: 512 W. Franklin St. Baltimore, MD 21201
Open Hours: Saturdays 4-7pm


How is the project operated?
We are an artist-run space.

How long has it been in existence?
We were founded in 2009 at our former location in the Remington neighborhood. In May of 2013 there was a fire in our building which forced us to leave. We moved into our new location in October of 2014.

Number of organizers/responsible persons of the project.
There are currently around 9 of us.

How are programs funded? 
We fund programs through benefit parties and events. We recently became fiscally sponsored by Fractured Atlas but have yet to explore exactly how we’re going to use that status.

Who is responsible for the programming?
We share a collective responsibility for all of our programming. Individual members may lead specific exhibitions or events but the planning of the over all calendar year is done collectively.

Number and average duration of exhibitions/events per year.
In our former location the exhibitions in our gallery space would be up for two months, we also had monthly music events in our performance space and other events such as film screenings and panel discussions between shows. In our new space we’re hoping to be more flexible with our timing, the new space is around a 10th of the size of our former location which will hopefully allow us to be more spontaneous and do some wackier one-off type events.

What kind of events are usually organized?
We maintain a program or 6-8 exhibitions in our gallery a year. One of our strongest core curatorial perspectives is variety and we always try to have a wide range of media and perspectives which reflect our members interests. We also run two large scale offsite fairs the Publications and Multiples Fair (PMF) and the Alternative Art Fair. PMF is an extremely successful celebration and survey of artists books and objects produced in multiple. 2014 was the fifth PMF and included 80+ vendors from all over the country, a robust lecture and reading schedule and 13 satellite events around the city at artist-run spaces. This year (2015) is exciting because we’re partnering with the Baltimore Museum of Art to produce a website called Baltimore Print City which will connect our fair to the BMA’s Contemporary Print Fair happening the same weekend. Also this year’s PMF will be in a new larger more beautiful location, The Baltimore Design School, which allow us to grow the fair even more. The Alternative Art Fair is produced in collaboration with the Baltimore Office for Promotion and the Arts during their Artscape festival in July. 2014 was the first year we did this event but we were able to bring 16 artist-run and nonprofit galleries from Baltimore, Philadelphia, New York City, Richmond, Chicago and Washington DC to a parking garage outfitted with exhibition booths like a commercial fair to share some amazing work. Because the fair takes place as part of Artscape over 50,000 people attended this event, many of the public who are underexposed to contemporary art were excited and often confused by the range of work on display. It was an extremely rewarding experience that I look forward to doing again this summer.

How is your programming determined?
We organically fill our schedule with proposals both from members and submissions from friends and strangers. We also group curate 1-2 shows a year as a group around a theme or medium.

Do you accept proposals/submissions?
Yes! Please propose a show, we are getting a floor plan/photos of the new space online so this will be easier for people. We love making new friends! We also of course take applications for PMF vendors and Alternative Art Fair participants. There are no restrictions on PMF vendors other than you’d be selling either publications or something produced in multiple. To participate in the Alternative Art Fair you have to be a nonprofit or artist-run space. Both of these calls are currently open!

What’s working? What’s not working?
Keeping things fun is always important. We always do a very intense Secret Santa in January with all the members and a rager after PMF. It’s important to celebrate all the work you do when you have a project like this. Transitioning to the smaller space is a challenge but we are just happy to find a home after the fire.

What kind of role do you hope to play in your local art scene or community?
With PMF and the Alternative Art Fair we hope to offer an opportunity for the Baltimore scene to connect and celebrate what they do but also to meet people from other cities working on similar projects.


Images courtesy of Open Space.

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