When I arrived at STABLE, I was warmly greeted by Caitlin Teal Price and Tim Doud, two of the creative forces behind the new art space in Eckington, DC (Linn Meyers, Co-founder, and Rebekah Pineda, Program Director, were out of town during the interview). Over the course of my conversation with Doud and Price, what was most apparent was the clear passion, perseverance and hard work that has gone into making their vision a reality.
Price and Doud first met in 2014 at the National Portrait Gallery where both were exhibiting work in an ongoing exhibition. The two quickly clicked, empathizing over the hardships and frustrations of being artists in DC. Subsequently and serendipitously, Meyers attended a joint presentation by Price and Doud on the future of the DC arts. Compelled by their views, Meyers introduced herself, and began collaborating with them on what would become a new joint project called STABLE. Set to open this winter, STABLE’s mission is to “strengthen Washington, DC’s contemporary visual arts community by providing affordable and sustainable studio space, fostering an engaged, diverse community, and extending access to local, national, and international audiences through partnerships, programming, and exhibitions.”
Reminiscing on their initial conversations from 2014, Doud explained that, “the concept [for STABLE] itself hasn’t changed much. In fact, the scope of the project has grown much larger than we anticipated.” Both Price and Doud mentioned that they have focused on promoting the idea, raising awareness, and fundraising. As a testament to the enthusiasm for STABLE and the overwhelming need for artist spaces in DC, the group has successfully raised $400K with very little fundraising experience. Through their extensive outreach and the variety of partnerships they’ve formed, STABLE’s founders hope that the project will provide a collaborative space for artists while offering them resources for professional development and growth. As Doud put it, “artists know what artists need.”
STABLE will consist of about 9,900 square feet of studio space on two floors, with studios ranging in size from 100 to 720 square feet. On the main floor, there will be 1,100 square feet of gallery space, as well as co-working spaces open to other arts professionals.
The team cleverly decided to incorporate different sized studios to place established artists alongside up-and-coming artists, selected from local, national, and even international communities. For consideration, artists were asked to apply online and share how their participation at STABLE would contribute to the overall mission of the organization. About a third of the artists will be selected through this process while the others will come various partnerships. These partners, including Hamiltonian Artists, The Phillips Collection, Halcyon and The Studio Visit, have reserved studios at STABLE. These organizations will rotate artists that come through their individual artist-in-residence programs. The idea is that, with short and long term residents mixed from different programs, STABLE will provide ample opportunity to network, foster diversity and offer a multitude of perspectives in the art-making process. STABLE founders also hope that this environment will be conducive to providing mentorship opportunities to less experienced artists. Studio proximity and shared workspace will assist newer artists in asking questions and seeking advice from more established artist.
Price, Doud, Meyers, and Pineda are planning an extensive amount of programming both for the benefit of resident artists as well as the broader public. Programming and events will give more established artists access to networking sessions with curators, collectors and art enthusiasts. When developing the programs, the founders received feedback from out-of-town curators that they often have difficulty finding DC artists with whom to collaborate. STABLE will program five separately curated exhibitions over the course of the year in dedicated gallery space which will be open to the public. Each exhibition will be organized by a different member of the arts community, including local artists, academics, collectors and curators, as well as by an open call. STABLE founders also plan to schedule public tours to view the artists’ studios.
During our conversation Price said, “STABLE will be more than just studios. Our goal is to use it to make this city a visibly creative place, and help put DC on the map for artists.” The founders’ mission is to foster an engaged and diverse group that provides a welcoming, encouraging environment for artists. Through the partnerships and programming, the founders are focused on selecting individuals who want to be part of a community. The founders hope that this will alleviate the often isolating experience of producing art in a solitary environment.
The STABLE team has compiled targeted resources and partnerships with the aim of helping artists succeed and feel supported. “We need to build bridges, not ship people away,” said Price, emphasizing the importance of a collaborative environment. Price, Doud, and Meyers hope that STABLE’s structure can support artists of all levels and develop a strong, sustainable artistic community in DC, through its creative programming, while nurturing the passion of their fellow artists.
STABLE is set to open in the Winter of 2018. You can find more information about the project at www.stablearts.org.