There’s a new maker space in town, folks. Let Spencer Anderson and Alex Vick tell you about the collaborative venue and art gallery, Sweet 101 (located downtown at 832 Main Ave.), that they and 12 of their bestest DIY pals have put together.
What’s the big idea?
Alex: Without too much permission or guidelines, we can create something akin to our vision of a venue and art gallery space that we haven’t seen in Durango. We want it to be an all-ages space, because there’s a huge demographic of kids that don’t have anywhere to go to see music, so we miss out on a lot of enthusiasts and bands. The same for the gallery. Most of the galleries around town are fine art or geared toward tourists and making some income. It can be difficult for unknown artists to make a name for themselves without a space where they can initially get their pieces put up. So that’s what we want to do – be a space for artists and musicians who wouldn’t have a venue otherwise.
That’s a huge idea.
Spencer: There’s always been a need for it, but we realized that we had support to do it through the house shows at the Everynight [house behind the Everyday convenience store]. People of all ages and backgrounds were showing up and when you have something like that, there are legal issues. I started looking on Craig’s List, and went and talked to a landlord who was super supportive of the whole idea. As we began thinking about who would be interested in running it, we created a 14-person core group who committed to putting in the time and effort – as well as sharing the financial responsibility – that it would take to get this thing going. The core group is really who shaped what the space would be, and each person in the group has a niche that they fill. No one’s making any money on this, either. We’re just invested in putting something together for the community.
How many people were coming to the Everynight shows?
Alex: Our smallest was 25, our largest was pushing 85. That was when it became apparent that we needed a larger space that is more concrete in the eyes of the law, as well as the community so that we don’t look like a bunch of punks making a racket in someone’s neighborhood. We want to be legitimate in a way that is positive in the public’s eye.
Spencer: Actually Jon [Lynch, KDUR program director] counted 85 just in the kitchen and living room. We had people in the yard and pouring out onto the street.
Whoa legitimacy! Lynch is a big deal …
Alex: It’s excellent having him because he’s already so involved in the Durango scene. He’s seen places like this in other parts of the country and he has some experience with them to help us out where we need it moving through the red tape. He’s been such an ambassador for us.
How have people heard about the shows?
Spencer: Word of mouth and posters. We’ve gotten enough exposure just from that. Now we have a Facebook page (facebook.com/DGOSweet101) and a lot of people have liked and added it. The Everynight poster, which a lot of people said they liked, just said, “Ask a punk.” No address, super vague.
Alex: That just goes to show how many people are looking for something like this. There’s not even any information! Just an image and “Punk Show”. That doesn’t always exclusively mean punk/rock/metal. Punk is an ideal, a way of moving through life. To me it means something alternative. We want to foster alternative art and culture.
What can people expect aesthetically?
Alex: Very eclectic, but all original. No cover bands. Original music. The last event we hosted was acoustic, and that included folk, blues, even some country stuff. We’ve also had shows that were punk, garage rock, thrashcore. We haven’t fully explored the idea of the gallery space yet, but the artists that are involved work in a huge variety of media.
What’s excited you most throughout the process?
Spencer: I’ve wanted to run a venue ever since I got into punk rock when I was a kid. Just daydreaming, “How cool would it be to bring bands in?” And then that always led to thinking about how that brings communities together. This is something that people need. We’re passionate about this on many levels.
What’s been most surprising about the process?
Alex: The logistics have been a new world. I tend to stay away from that stuff. I mean, we’re idealists! But now we’re trying to sculpt the idea, to make it real. Everyone in the core group has their own experience and it’s culminating into what we can do together. We’ll be in a meeting and trying to figure something out when someone has the perfect solution. There’s no way Spencer and I could do this by ourselves. We need everyone involved.
What should people expect of a show?
Alex: An environment of open ideas and mutual respect. After that, having a radical time seeing something that they might not usually see in Durango. Maybe a little shock and awe. Maybe something that puts you off a little bit. I want to show all aspects of art and music within the community, and pull more people out of the woodwork to get involved and add something to the mix.
Cyle Talley is wondering if you’re tired of hearing him talk about the Cubs yet. No? GO CUBS! Yes? GO CUBS! If there’s something you’d like to GET SMART about, email him at: [email protected]