Happy Friday! This post marks the first in a series of a couple of posts about spaces. Spaces for artists to work, to live, and to be inspired. It’s starting off strong with a visit to Elsewhere in Greensboro, NC.
Last Saturday, one of our HappeningsCLT crew decided to take an impromptu mini road trip to Greensboro to meet a fellow art lover and friend. We’ve been hearing really good things about this artist residency for a while now so we had to see what all it held in store (hehe, read on and you’ll get the joke).
Elsewhere explains itself as a “Living Museum” and Artist Collaborative and residency space. After visiting, we also think that it is a wonderland of material, history, culture and activity. It’s unlike any other artist residency that we’ve ever seen and they are making a huge impact on the way that we think about material, installation, ownership and artmaking.
But let’s back up a bit and give you the back story. The three-story building itself was a store, with a boarding house on the 2nd floor, and a warehouse on the 3rd floor used by owned and operated by Sylvia Gray for nearly 60 years. Over the course of time, Gray gathered a surplus of inventory, from fabric bolts and remnants, to army surplus, to toys, books, games, clothes, literally anything you could imagine. She worked in the store until the day before her death, managing the hoard of material but rarely sold anything, leaving behind an archive of her life and of decades of culture in massive piles.
In 2003, Gray’s grandson, George Sheer, along with his business partner, Stephanie Sherman, and several other artists, dove headfirst into the material with an idea that nothing would leave the premises, but would become the materials for artists to explore new ways of creating. Since then, Elsewhere has become a sought after residency program for artists on national and international levels. Included in the space now are installations by theses artists that “grow” and evolve as new artists follow and build on or reorganize the material.
Watch this video from Elsewhere to learn more about George and Sylvia:
So… what is it like to visit??? Go to Elsewhere’s vimeo site and watch this video – this is how you feel on your visit. I was there for nearly two hours and it all never stopped spinning. There are rooms full of ribbon, full of class, full of clothing and costumes. There are swings on the storefront window which doubles as a stage. There is a magical kitchen where old stoves and refrigerators are suspended on the walls and artists cook and feast and fellowship. The top floor has rooms that are like shrines to ghosts of the building’s past. In order to understand the full magnitude of this place you just must go visit and be in the building in person. They are open to the public May – December, Wed – Saturday, 1pm – 10pm.
Something that we think Elsewhere does really well is they meticulously document every thing that happens in the space. You can get lost for hours in their Website and Vimeo just exploring projects. But don’t just take our word for it, really do yourself a favor and go get lost in it in person as well. This is Kati, stunned speechless (a RARE moment) in the Ribbon room installation by Stephanie Williams:
And that’s not all – the constantly evolving project by the artists are spilling over into the community. In 2014, Elsewhere was the recipient of one of only 55 coveted ArtPlace America Grants, allowing them to embark on the South Elm Project. This project will commission artist, designers, and creative minds to create site specific public art and interventions to transform underused spaces in downtown Greensboro.
Wanna piece of the action? – WE DO!!!
You can become a part of this story of transformation by assising in the physical transformation of the space. Elsewhere is currently running a Kickstarter Campaign to fund a massive renovation of the building. Go here to donate and read about the restoration and how you can be a part of it.
We can’t wait to go back and see more of what Elsewhere will do.