03.04.2014 · News
Relaunch: New Website, New Space, New Statement
After a two year campaign, we are excited to announce our re-opening in a 17,000 sq/ft building we own, in the community we are committed to, after a process we can reflect on and respect.
Organizations, like people, evolve at different speeds. Progress is discontinuous and unpredictable. When we began our capital campaign over two years ago announcing an ambitious vision to purchase our own building, we were doing so as an organization that had existed for just over four years and only two years as a nonprofit. We had fits and starts, delays and doubts. We had questions about capacity and capital. About how to buy and rebuild the thing we were working for. About expertise, and ability, and experience. We are an artist-run space, small in many ways, expansive in others. We were interested as an organization to initiate a process of owning a permanent location, of investing in artists, in a community and in our own future - ultimately, of controlling the space we inhabit both physically and conceptually. To not be a byproduct of our own success in which we would lose a lease in 5, 10, or 25 years due to raising rents or real estate speculation. To not participate in a narrative that artists and arts organizations face around the world of occupying a temporary place dependent on changing tides and uncertain funding. Now, we are officially announcing our re-opening in a 17,000 sq/ft building we own, in the community we are committed to, after a process we can reflect on and respect. As we announce our new branding, new website, new mission statement and the opening of our new space, we don’t want to just talk about newness, but on the meaning of our aesthetics and actions; of our history and horizons. As an arts organization, each of these things are a public expression of our vision and values - who we are working for and what we are working toward. Our logo, brilliantly conceived by friend and collaborator Vadim Gershman, is always changing. It is not modular - it is malleable, sometimes awkward, sometimes discontinuous, sometimes unexpectedly aligning, but constantly shifting its position in relation to images, text, speed and space. The website, compellingly constructed by talented designer-musician-tinkerer Matthew Strom, equally speaks to this openness, allowing our programs to breathe, expanding over time as a codex and platform equal to our ambitions. Likewise, our mission statement sums our revised vision: "The Luminary is an incubator for new ideas in the arts, founded as a forum for artistic research, production and presentation, conceived in response to both our immediate and international community, alongside our audiences, and in dialogue with artists. We seek to be an institution of our time, as malleable as the work we strive to support." We are defined by our movement; our investment in artists and their ideas; the risks that we are willing to agree to; the openness to be mobile and always on uncertain terrain.
All of this leads us to the long-awaited opening of our new space. We have talked at length about its square footage, its expense, its architectural features. But, ultimately, it is a husk, a shell, waiting to be filled. We have come to speak of it as a pseudo-outdoor space that is meant to be engaged like a park, playground, plaza, or backyard. This concept is coming about due to the support of true visionaries in UIC - our architects and general contractors who waded through a building with dirt floors, exposed wires and an unfinished roof to construct what we also saw in it: a space that could be a collaborator.
We did not want a neutral space, but one that must be contended with. Its arcing ceilings are charged with a hundred years of experiments. We have painstakingly reconstructed the potential present in the first bricks before being covered over year after year of patches, half-finished thoughts and outright mistakes. We have added our own contemporary context, material vocabulary and unique uses - two galleries and a venue that open onto the sidewalk, studios accessed by a new grand stair, a separate commercial space that helps subsidize our work and much more planned for the future. It already contains generations and is being rebuilt to continue its evolution throughout a lifetime, at least.
What for us and many of you feels like the culmination of a long, fraught process of fundraising, deep winter demolition, risk-filled workdays, and wall-raising, is in truth a rebirth. This is a new thing that carries its history with it, seeking to be an institution of its time, as malleable as the artists we strive to support. Whatever it is, it was built by its public, assembled at odd angles and contended with as a collaborator, and will continue to be shaped by it in the coming hours, years and months.
All of that to say: we are now ready to open.
You are invited to our Grand Opening: May 17th, 2014 from 8 to 11pm
FREE and open to the public