Public Art Organization Creative Time Is Getting Its First Permanent Event Space, Where Artists Are Invited to ‘Convene and Exchange’
Open to artists and activists, Creative Time HQ was conceived as a resource for community-level organizing efforts.
For the first time in its 49-year history, Creative Time is getting a permanent event space.
Creative Time HQ (CTHQ) is the name of the public art organization’s new extension, located a floor above its longtime office in the Lower East Side. The spot, secured in part through a recent gift from the Mellon Foundation, was previously earmarked for additional employee workspace, but recent conversations changed that.
“Something that has come up time and time again, especially since the pandemic, is the need for space to gather. Our community of artists, activists, and creatives are really looking for sites where they can convene and exchange,” said Justine Ludwig, Creative Time’s executive director. “It became clear that this is a real need for the field more broadly, and we had access to it.”
From Rashid Johnson’s 2021 Red Stage at Astor Place to Charles Gaines’s 110-foot-long Moving Chains sculpture installed on Governors Island last year, Creative Time’s signature projects tend to be big and costly. They require months of production, are installed in prominent public locations, and count audience figures by the thousands.
By contrast, the vibe at CTHQ will be a bit cozier. Designed by the architecture studio FOOD New York, the site has a living-room feel and an open-door spirit. It was conceived specifically as a resource for creatives, activists, and non-profits involved in local-level political action. Nighttime performances and other events will highlight the HQ schedule, but much of the time the location will play host to the unglamorous but critical work of organizing: staff meetings, brainstorming sessions, community dialogues.
“This allows us to consider the multiple ways that space can be an integral resource, in real-time, to sustaining work at the intersection of art and politics,” added Anna Harsanyi, an assistant curator who will oversee the location.
Programming at CTHQ will kick off this weekend with a 10-week series of activations by Art.coop, a collective dedicated to bettering the working lives of artists. The first event, set for Saturday, September 30, will feature a screening of Rabble Rousers, a 2022 documentary about the activist Frances Goldin and her decades-long fight to protect the residents of Manhattan’s Cooper Square from developers and waves of gentrification.
The downtown organizing efforts like those of Goldin and others were a huge source of inspiration for CTHQ, Ludwig said. She also made it clear that having a permanent space doesn’t mean the organization will look to move its outside work indoors.
The idea, the director went on, is “more about creating these moments of engagement and community that are sometimes closed off.”
“It’s not a [matter] of things that were in public space becoming private, but things that were private becoming public.”
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