The ears of artists often perk up at the mention of a think tank, a dance studio, or an art gallery. But a creative greenhouse?
Officials with the Arts Incubator of Richardson are working toward choosing a property to call home and along the way they’ve identified the similarities between an incubator and a greenhouse. The AIR’s mission is “to provide the community with a center for all creatives and the cultural arts community, providing resources for nurturing artists, innovative thinkers, and business groups.”
The organization has narrowed its site search to three properties, said Susan Morrow, a consultant on the project.
AIR was founded to develop a multipurpose arts center and incubator by providing office, rehearsal, performance, and studio space for artists and arts groups — a real community asset for the already attractive inner-ring suburb of Richardson. Perhaps the group might consider repurposing space formerly occupied by big-box retailers, as other projects have proved successful
The incubator’s treasurer, David Nethery, recently answered some questions about the group’s findings and plans to secure a creative space for local artists.
Q: Describe the layout AIR envisions for the facility.
David Nethery: The number of studios, rooms, etc. will ultimately be dictated by the size of the space obtained. We are looking at 25,000 to 50,000 square feet, but we anticipate at least eight to 10 artists’ studios, three to four working offices, two to three conference rooms, a large rehearsal space, a black box theater, a small gift shop, and a 4,000- to 5,000-square-foot event space.
Q: Describe an example of what a typical day at the center may reflect.
Nethery: A typical day in the AIR center would include a variety of visual artists working at their craft in their studios. One might be teaching a small class. Two or three may be sharing and collaborating on ideas.
A choral group is holding rehearsals in a large room with a piano and risers. That same room may be used another time of the day for a dance group practicing their moves for a performance. A play is being rehearsed in the small black box theater. In another area, people are busy building a set.
In the office/co-working space, staff members are phoning, assembling flyers, making copies, conducting budget meetings, and working on website and related marketing collateral.
Q: What are the similarities/parallels between an arts incubator and a greenhouse?
Nethery: A greenhouse is designed to be a controlled environment which allows for year-round cultivation and growth of plants. Key factors include temperature, levels of light and shade, irrigation, fertilizer application, and atmospheric humidity.
In this nurturing environment, seeds and seedlings grow and flourish. One area may contain only dirt in which seeds are planted; in other areas, seedlings may be viewed. As they increase in size, depending on their ultimate destinations, consumables such as vegetables and fruits may be pruned and shaped. They may be repotted and transplanted to the outdoors to continue their growth cycles. Some of them may be harvested in the greenhouse.
An arts incubator is designed to provide an environment where ideas may be planted, weeded, encouraged, and fed. For example, a song, a poem, a sculpture piece, or a theater performance may start as an idea or thought. As the seeds of imagination begin to grow, there may be the process of pruning, shaping, polishing, rehearsing, and nourishing in order to be harvested as the final work of art.
Such a space that is rife with the creative process may help stimulate innovative thinking regarding any issue or challenge. It may be used by creatives of all types to birth and grow ideas. Sharing a common work space helps to encourage cross-pollination of thought and imagination. Businesses and organizations may take advantage of such an environment for out-of-the-box thinking to invigorate ideas or strategic planning.
Both the greenhouse and the arts incubator facilitate for sprouting of seeds and ideas. The process of bringing a seed to its ultimate fulfillment is no different than the process of bringing a spark of imagination to its ultimate presentation.
Q: Does an arts incubator play a role for our life existence on Earth?
Nethery: A greenhouse may provide for foods to be grown in an environment where there are short or non-existent growing seasons.
The arts – whether creating or experiencing the creation – are essential to all of us. Imagine a world devoid of visual, art, music, dance, poetry, plays, and movies. The creative impulse is inherent to the human experience.
Creativity often occurs in isolation. Within the arts incubator, the process can be enhanced, stimulated, and nourished via cross-pollination of artistic techniques and concepts. The arts incubator brings the creative process to fulfillment where it can be enjoyed by many people worldwide. The consumption of the related products by anyone, anywhere, stimulates the birth of new ideas. Creativity inspires creativity.