We're pretty pumped to introduce our sponsor, MASS Gallery. A collectively run space for almost 10 years, MASS has cemented its place in Austin's art community with creative programing unlike any other institution in the city. Wild installations, progressive video work, off the wall performances - you'll find all that & more at MASS. And, if that weren't enough, MASS has another trick up its sleeve: a shop aptly named MA$$. Make sure to swing by their booth tomorrow to explore one-of-a-kind art works, zines & treats. Read on to learn how MASS came to be..!
Tell us about MASS? How'd it all get started?
From 2006 to 2010 MASS existed as part of the Blue Theater complex, behind what is now Big Medium at Canopy and adjacent to the current Museum of Human Achievement. Ron Berry, now Executive & Artistic Director of Fusebox Festival, invited the early crew of MASS to take advantage of an empty garage space next to the Blue Theater and make it their own, showcasing the work they felt needed championing in the visual arts. During that period, MASS presented more than forty exhibitions and indescribable events, establishing its reputation as an art space with a true sense of curiosity, always amenable to the risk of providing its space and energy in support of the unknown. In 2010, we were asked to leave our space for new tenants to move in and as we exited the space for the last time we wondered what that challenge could mean for our collective vision.
Between 2010 and 2013, MASS utilized a two year nomadic period to create public art projects and pop-up exhibitions around town and in November 2013, MASS established itself in its current location within the vibrant 507 Calles Street complex. Now consisting of a 1,500-square foot gallery space, five large work studios and a unique retail space, MASS continues to cultivate a friendly conversation space for the public to engage with the contemporary arts and the Austin, TX community.
What's an average day in a MASS-ers life look like? Does each member have specific tasks or is it an all hands on deck type of situation?
Currently we are 10 members strong and each of us possess a special skill set that merge together to make one kick-ass organization. Consisting of a cast culled from Austin’s rich community of artists, writers, musicians and educators, MASS members jointly contribute to the daily operations and strategic planning of exhibitions, programming and events. We are all pretty different, with varied backgrounds and time allowances to offer, but as a volunteer run organization we all contribute roughly 40 hours a month. Now in our ninth year, we find ourselves at a point where we are focused and driven in a way that in our early years we were not. We have a strategic plan that we follow and annually we do a self-analysis and brainstorming sesh--or what we like to call a Vision Quest--to make sure that we are true to our mission and are serving ourselves and the community we aim to support with as much gusto and professionalism as we can.
Average day? Well, we communicate largely by email on a daily basis and now we use Basecamp which helps streamline project management. We only have open gallery hours 3 times a week, but there is constant management of other things like future exhibition arrangements, social media, studio tenant needs, and the list goes on. A constant challenge for any team situation is proper delegation and communication and we work very hard on making sure that each individual feels agency to be creative and strong within the larger group. We have sub-committees that tackle specific interest groups or needs, like the FACILITIES team that are total install rockstars and can make just about anything you can draw out on a napkin. We have a prez and vp that help wrangle the team together if we get unbalanced or off course, but for the most part we have an extremely fun time making up our own rules and embracing exploration and failure. There are some silly things we are very serious about and vice versa.
MASS has a shop, MA$$ - that's a not an average gallery feature! - how'd you guys come to have a shop?
During our nomadic period when we all would meet and dream up our goals and what our future physical location could be, we all really loved the idea of having an auxiliary space within the gallery that could be a different platform to support artists and a new challenge for our team. We opened up MA$$ a year after the gallery space took root at Calles Street and we showcase artwork, books, zines, and objects of all kinds crafted by artists and makers beyond those exhibiting in our gallery. This exciting effort, alongside our other expanded programming, continues to evolve and provide a different model of support by generating a revenue stream for them and for us.
MA$$ actively reaches out to artists and makers, both regionally and nationally, to build our inventory as well as presents an exciting collection of work through our 12 x 12 Collection. 12 x 12 is an ongoing open call to artists and makers to create both 2d and 3d works which are 12 by 12 inches or smaller. These album-sized artworks are accessible in record style bins inside our store and include artists such as Ben Aqua, Amir Fallah, Angela Fox, Manik Raj Nakra, Christine Nguyen and many many more!
Any favorite artists at the moment?
This is a hard one! Apart from the open calls we do annually, our collective maintains the curatorial vision for the space and we are always looking for new artists we can shape a show around or bring into our retail space. Each year when we sit down to look over lists of artists that we all dig, the meetings are long, sometimes our lists are so long that we have to spread the meetings out over days to get through with fresh eyes. That said it is hard to nail down a concise list, especially since you have 10 voices over here with different tastes. We can say that the artists that we bring to MASS are artists that we all believe in wholeheartedly and work our butt off to support in any way we can. If you want to know who we are inspired by, just come to our shows, take a peek around the shop and in our 12 x 12 bins and you will see who we are into.
Member, Christa Palazzolo
- breakfast tacos
- A/C <---- for real tho, it's hot today
Member, Drew Liverman
Member, Xochi Solis
-Juiceland something or other
-car trunk equipped with swimsuit and pool noodle
-we've been joking about making a MASS mesh tank top, maybe 2015 is our summer for it?!
Member, George Pasterk
-Issac Hayes-singing Walk on By from Hot Buttered Soul
-Yo La Tengo-Beach Party Tonight from Summer Sun
-San Tropez-Pink Floyd from Meddle
Member, Jules Buck Jones
-make snow cones, Snowmsayin'?