Tuesday, February 23, 2016

Making It: Aviatrix Atelier, Berlin

Making It
profiles cultural producers creating the systems of support they need in the art community. The events, spaces, and other projects here s
upport the work of professional artists while also being accessible to families.

kids take over the child-height mezzanine gallery overlooking Aviatrix's café
Just down the street from Berlin’s  Tempelhofer Park - an expansive public part that was once the city's main airport - it might be easy to pass by the modest Aviatrix Atelier without knowing what's brewing inside. Its name invoking the adventurous spirit of female pilots, Aviatrix is a vibrant little social club, an evolving all-ages studio, gallery, and café organized by and for creative parents and their families, as well as the local community.

When designer and artist Renata
flexible workspace during the week = gallery + event space on the weekend
Faccenda first became a mother, she realized that bringing her baby into a typical shared studio cooperative just wasn’t going to work. Instead, she joined forces with other mother-artists in the city to make something new. After some early attempts at configuring child-friendly collaborative spaces with others she met Sarah Salters, a clothing designer and teacher who shared her vision for an all-ages studio with space for work, play, and public events. The duo secured a multi-room storefront space in the Neuköln neighborhood, and Aviatrix Atelier was born.

Aviatrix operates in so many ways it’s a little hard to keep track sometimes. On weekdays, its core group of parents share a dedicated studio in the back, while up front a high-ceilinged room equipped with wide tables, lamps, and wifi is rented out as co-working space. On weekends, its custom-built furniture (designed by Renata herself) folds up and away to serve as a pop-up gallery for all-ages exhibitions, film screenings, performances, and dance parties with great musicians and DJs. You enter all this through an adjacent café that doubles as a sort of social club for the creative community, featuring simple but
tasty food and drink and a small boutique selling the creative work of Aviatrix collaborators.

children emerge from the mezzanine gallery over the café during an exhibition
I felt lucky to experience the magic of this place during a solo show of my work there this fall. It felt even luckier to get to share it with my four-year-old daughter. To be sure, Aviatrix is a pretty cool place for adults to hang out, but Renata and Sarah are also deeply invested in the creativity of children: all exhibiting artists are asked to lead low-cost workshops for kids, part of the atelier's multifaceted children's studio programming. A kid-height mezzanine gallery built over the coffeeshop is the perfect space for young creatives to showcase their art for the public, curate their own exhibitions, or (between exhibitions) just contribute to the washable graffiti covering the mini-gallery’s ceiling and windows, while keeping an eye on their parents in the café below.

Berlin is a pretty special city in its approach to integrating family life into the larger culture: childcare is affordable for all, playgrounds double as sculpture parks, and there's an amazing array of “Eltern-Kind-Cafés,” relaxed coffeeshops and restaurants that include built-in sandboxes, toys, or indoor slides, and even playgrounds with adjacent beer gardens (a concept we can only fantasize about in the US).  Still, what Aviatrix offers is unique. Billed as "Berlin's only kid-friendly atelier,"  it’s not just for families, but truly supports artists of all ages. For more photos, videos, and news about events past and present, check out Aviatrix's Facebook feed and explore their website for more information.

Balloons - Tartaruga Feliz Solo Show from Tartaruga Feliz on Vimeo.

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Christa Donner reimagines the human / animal body through a range of media including large-scale drawing, printmaking, digital animation, and small-press publication. Her process often incorporates public projects and collaborations around narratives of bodily experience. Her work is exhibited internationally, including projects for the Museum Bellerive (Zurich, Switzerland); the Horst-Janssen Museum (Oldenberg, Germany); Kravets-Wehby Gallery (New York, USA); BankART NYK (Yokohama, Japan); Chiaki Kamikawa Contemporary Art (Paphos, Cyprus); the ANTI Festival of Contemporary Art (Kuopio, Finland); and the Centro Columbo Americano (Medellin, Colombia).

Saturday, February 20, 2016

Cultural ReProducers in NYC and Chicago - join us this week!

We have been quietly busy working on some exciting projects in Chicago and New York, and here’s news on a few that are coming up soon. We'd love to see you there.

Who's Holding the Baby? the Hackney Flashers, 1978
EFA Project Space
323 w 39th Street #3, New York, NY
Saturday, Jan 27, 3 - 5:30 PM

If you’re in or near New York you’re invited to participate in an open forum with Christa Donner from Cultural ReProducers, Maiko Tanaka from The Grand Domestic Revolution, Marisa Jahn from The CareForce, and artist Jacqueline Hoang Nguyen for Wah-wah, shh, chomp, munch, nom, burp, poot, slurp, yum, toot, mwah. But who's holding the baby?

This open forum explores the intersection of cultural work, arts institutions, and caring labor. …But Who’s Holding the Baby? is presented in conjunction with the exhibition "The Let Down Reflex", curated by Amber Berson and Juliana Driever, at EFA Project Space in Manhattan. Come join the conversation on February 27th between 3:00-5:30pm.
Free childcare will be available.


School of the Art Institute of Chicago

37 S. Wabash, 1st Floor Neiman Center
, Chicago, IL

Saturday, March 5, 
drop in between 12 pm - 5 pm

Why are some of the most important mamas in art and design missing from Wikipedia? Well, because you haven’t added them yet. Cultural ReProducers is pleased to team up with Art+Feminism and Tracers to participate in the Chicago 2016 Wikipedia Edit-a-thon, and we need your help to expand its content and scope.

Everyone's welcome, and you need not have any previous Wikipedia editing know-how to take part: facilitators will offer 10-minute training sessions every hour on the hour and offer individual support as needed. Library staff will offer resources. Free childcare is in the works... get in touch if you can use it!

So: mark your calendars, pack up the kids, and please bring a laptop and a photo ID (for building access). To make the most of your time at the event, we recommend you create an account before you arrive. For more information, check out the Chicago meetup page.