What is Inner Space?
Inner Space will be a gallery and shop inside the Share Space building that focuses on the work of New England-based artists with disabilities – or what we call Outsider Art. By using the term "outsider" we are not trying to be exclusionary, or stigmatizing. We use the term because, in our experience, it is the most widely-accepted way to talk about this area of the art world. This gallery will provide a location to view and purchase artwork from a variety of programs, making Outsider Art accessible to the general public. Both individuals and arts-based programs will be able to display art and merchandise at Inner Space. $9,000 will help launch Inner Space as a place for Outsider Art to shine. We hope that it will cover the first year of expenses as we introduce the gallery to Providence, work with New England programs, and seek out individual artists who wouldn’t otherwise have the opportunity to showcase – and sell – their work.
In this first year, Dana (MFA RISD Sculpture '09) and Josh Kretzmann (BFA UCDavis '00) – who already run Share Space – will dedicate significant time and effort into creating a warm and welcoming environment through which disabled artists can present and sell their works. The goal is to apply for 501(c)3 charitable status in 2016, and your gift will help Inner Space become a sustainable nonprofit that will benefit disabled artists throughout New England.
What is Share Space?
Share Space is a building on Broadway in Providence, RI that is shared by artists, makers, entrepreneurs, and other small bussinesses selling local / handmade items, vintage goods & international finds. Dana Kretzmann had the idea for this space after running White Buffalo successfully and decided that she wanted to do more to help other small business owners and makers like herself. Share Space was opened as a way to share ideas and resources, so that each business could grow with the help of the others in a lower risk environment.
What programs will be participating?
RHD-RI (Pawtucket, RI)
- Enhancing lives through artistic creation
Flying Shuttles (Pawtucket, RI)
- Flying Shuttles Studio supports the creative endeavors of artists and weavers with intellectual and developmental disabilities.
MagsArts (Providence, RI)
- Mags Arts is the place to learn about Margaret (Maggie) Worthen, who was severely disabled by a brain stem stroke.
ReFocus (Providence, RI)
- ReFocus, Inc. is a non-profit human service agency which serves adults with differing physical and developmental needs.
Bridges (Jamestown, RI)
- Bridges Inc. is a Jamestown-based, nonprofit organization dedicated to supporting adults with developmental disabilities to live the life they choose.
Top Drawer Art at The Brass (Warren, RI)
- Top Drawer Art at the Brass is an art studio and gallery providing art programs for adults with developmental disabilities. Through the arts, we are dedicated to creative expression, individuality, and self-empowerment.
Community Access to the Arts (Great Barrington, MA)
- Community Access to the Arts nurtures and celebrates the creativity of people with disabilities through shared experiences in the visual and performing arts.
Spindleworks ArtCenter (Brunswick, ME)
- Spindleworks is a non profit art center for adults with disabilities and a program of the Independence Association of Brunswick Maine, whose mission is to help children and adults with disabilities achieve full and inclusive lives in their chosen community.
Artists' Exchange (Cranston, RI)
- Artists' Exchange is a 501(c)3 non-profit arts collaborative whose mission is to create an atmosphere in which creativity, learning and discovery converge and individuality is celebrated. Artists' Exchange is proudly owned and operated by Gateways to Change, Inc.
VSA Arts (Pawtucket, RI)
- VSA arts Rhode Island is a statewide, nonprofit, arts and education organization dedicated to providing opportunities for children and adults with disabilities to actively participate in the arts.
MHCA-RI / Oasis (Providence, RI)
- Mental Health Consumer Advocates of Rhode Island is a statewide organization founded and run by people who are in the process of recovery with serious mental health issues.
Risks and challenges
Starting a nonprofit is a risk in and of itself, but Josh and Dana have dedicated so much of their personal and professional lives to helping individuals with disabilities. The next year’s challenges will include filing for nonprofit status, working with programs to generate interest and art, and creating a workshop space to host events to create art on-site.
The possible rewards outweigh all of these risks, however. Creativity cannot be taught or learned. Outsider artists have a natural ability to express themselves and communicate through their art. Because these artists are not taught in traditional art settings they are free to experiment and are not hindered by artificial constructs. The art becomes an extension of their life experiences, it comes from a much more raw and uninhibited space without being concerned by the constraints of being "normal." We want to celebrate the artists that exist outside the bounds of the traditional art world, and promote those who find themselves, in some ways, on the outside of society. We want to help show the public that there is great power in being an outsider.
- (32 days)