Dorchester Art Project—the artist-run, alternative space in Boston’s Dorchester neighborhood devoted to “innovative artistic practice outside of the city’s academic institutions and commercial galleries”—is under new leadership.
Brain Arts Organization—the Boston music and arts nonprofit known for its boundary-pushing local music and arts programming via its Boston Hassle shows and website, monthly Boston Compass newspaper, and bi-monthly Black Market flea market—took over the lease on the 5,000-square-foot, second-floor space at 1486 Dorchester Ave. on Jan. 1, according to Dan Shea.
“We’re just ultra excited to finally have a space of our own,” Shea says. “We’re very excited to be in Dorchester. We’re very excited to be right on the Red Line. We’re very excited to make this space as awesome as it can be.”
Beginning around 2010 or so, Shea and Sam Potrykus founded Boston Hassle and then Brain Arts. Last year, they produced more than 100 shows around greater Boston—including one at the Dorchester Art Project on Dec. 17 (pictured here in photos by Omari Spears).
For a while now, the Hassle folks have been talking about their desire to have their own music and arts space. “We’ll be continuing to try to open a full-fledged venue,” Shea says, “but an opportunity arose to take over an art space that was going to cease to exist. So we’ve taken over and signed a five-year lease.”
Shea says, “We’re staggering toward legitimacy.”
Legitimacy? That sounds horrible.
“Don’t worry,” Shea says. “We’ll always be staggering.”
The Dorchester Art Project (“We’re keeping that name,” Shea says, to maintain continuity) began as a cooperative studio and gallery space around 2011 under the name Howard Art Project. At the end of May 2015, it transformed into the Dorchester Art Project, when they announced they were “handing over the space to some longtime friends and collaborators. We are very happy to report that the space will continue to function as a studio and exhibition space, but under a different name, different mission, and a new cast of organizers. We wish them well.”
Now the baton has been passed again. Shea says they plan to maintain the 13 artist studios (rentals), two galleries, and an existing artist-in-residence program, while they continue to also produce shows allover town.
“It’s going to be a multifaceted art and music space,” Shea says. “We’re going to try to run it as much as a venue as we can.” They’re still figuring out the permitting.
Art programming there will be lead by Sophia Giordano, Jameson Johnson, Emma Leavitt and Chloe DuBois. Shea and Potrykus will lead the music, film, performance art, music lessons, pop up shops and so on. They note that “the space(s) in our space are available for rent by the public as well.”
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