Although I just wrote about Artemis Space Bridge Simulator on Monday, today’s post isn’t about outer space, but physical space. Venues! It’s the topic on my mind lately. We’ve been trying to find a space to run an indoor interactive puzzle hunt for a few weeks now and haven’t had a whole lot of luck. And the more location-based events I run and the more frustrated I get with the limitations of public places, the more I long to run something totally awesome in a controlled environment.
The ideal image of a cool art/event space in my mind right now is 47/49 Tanner Street, an old, three-story Victorian tannery in London that is available as studio and event space. (They’re running a Halloween event there called Wink Murder, and Fire Hazard will be running games and a dark maze on the first floor while the rest of the building will have performances and food. That all sounds amazing!) The thought of just having an entire building or floor where you have free reign to design some awesome experience sounds so attractive. A big, open space would be like a blank canvas, while a space with multiple floors, rooms, and corridors would inspire so many cool ideas.
So how does one find a space in which to do something cool? I’m not really sure. I think the smaller size of my city compared to a place like London means there are fewer interesting spaces like 47/49 to begin with (and maybe even too small of an audience for a large event like that to be viable). We’ve mostly been looking on Craigslist for empty warehouses and other industrial spaces (where we could make a mess), but it’s been pretty hit-or-miss (with mostly misses).
Sara Thacher recently tweeted about a cool online resource called Spare Place, meant for “matching people with local spaces.” What a great idea! I especially like that it seems to connect people like me with venue-owners who are already interested in hosting these types of projects and are open to new, creative ideas. Unfortunately, the resource is UK-only (they’ve got all the good stuff!), but it is a part of a group called the Empty Shops Network which has a lot of more general resources for people interested in running pop-up shops and experiences.
One last thought is pop-up vs permanent. The Empty Shops Network certainly makes a strong case for temporary spaces, and they probably have the advantage in almost every category (cost, variety, novelty, etc.) but there certainly is something romantic and appealing about the idea of having a permanent space as your own personal playground. Eh, maybe I just need to buy a house.