Intermedia Arts creates hub for artists who need office space, community

It is one of the wonders of the modern age that today’s aspiring artist can run his or her own company pretty much with a laptop and a cell-phone, and the occasional trip to Kinko’s.

But Peter Haakon Thompson hopes that artists will choose to bring their laptops and phones to Intermedia Arts to take advantage of its new program, the “Artshub.”

The idea is that you’re around this daily creative community, and you have permission to talk to strangers. Unlike at a coffee shop, we’re trying to foster conversation around work and ideas. That’s something I miss from grad school when I got my M.F.A. – that daily creative community.

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Intermedia Arts offers office space for artists looking for a place out of which to base their work.

Thompson calls himself the “curator and host” of the ArtsHub. An artist himself, Thompson’s work includes the “Art Shanties” project, and a series of tents designed for creating conversations. So he’s naturally interested in the creative use of space to get people engaged and talking to one another.

Thompson says he sees the ArtsHub as an ideal place for freelancers or small performance companies who can’t afford their own space.

My sense is that in this economy this is a great resource – people don’t need to lay out a lot of money to create their own temporary office space. It seems like everyone is trying to start their own thing right now.

Intermedia Arts lives in a large building, and owns a second smaller building just a short walk away. It’s taken its surplus space and converted it into a series of desks and conference rooms.

People interested in using the office space have a choice of a variety of passes that give them access for a day, a week, a month, or more. They can take over a particular desk and leave their materials there, so they don’t have to constantly haul them around.

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Table Tennis at ArtsHub

Thompson says participants also get to attend a range of meet-ups, including something as casual as a round of table tennis, to Grant Jam Days, where people applying for the same grant can work on their applications together.

The idea is that it will begin with a roundtable discussion around the same grant. Where are you in the process? Wwhat questions do you have? And in some cases a representative can come and answer questions.

One of Thompson’s favorite events is the “lunchtime skill share” when people take turns sharing what they know over their lunch break.

I think everybody that I’ve talked to about the hub has had something to offer to the other members. The example I use is that I’m a sailor and a knot-tier, and I’ve slowly figured out how I can work it into my artistic practice. Skill sharing allows you to find out what someone is really passionate about in really informal and fascinating way.

For Thompson, a sure sign that the ArtsHub is a success would be for a couple of people to meet each other at Intermedia Arts and end up working on a project together – something that wouldn’t have existed otherwise.

The next open house for ArtsHub is Friday December 9.

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