Exploring the Space of 10/20 Collective
Exploring the Space of 10/20 Collective
As a burgeoning art and multi-use event space, 10/20 Collective is growing, owning its space in the community. Leading this growth is Rick Bowser, the collective's director, and Sarah MK Moody, the director of programming, art, and community. From its days as a studio space, to housing the Lake Erie Ballet, to its time as the Ballet Haus music venue, 10/20 Collective continues to find its identity. After the onset of the pandemic in 2020, they, like many businesses, found themselves at a crossroads. As 2021 progressed, though, their vision coalesced, serving as home to myriad community events, performances, and exhibits. I sat down with Bowser and Moody at the venue, aptly named for its location at 1020 Holland St., to talk about what got them there and where they're headed.
Jessica Hunter: Can you tell me about yourselves, and how the space has evolved?
Rick Bowser: I am a lover of the arts, a musician, a producer, and a dreamer. I have a passion for sharing the human condition with the community. Whatever it may be that we're going through in life, it's always healing to channel these emotions through art, through sharing with our neighbors, from a block around the corner to a continent around the globe. The way I channel this energy is via music. I produce music with my good friends, and also offer studio sessions to the public via 1020 now.
Sarah MK Moody: I am a mother, an artist, a curator, a doula, and a community builder. I make photographs, paintings, and sculpture pieces. I love visual art, photography, and sharing the work made by others. I'm passionate about creating space for people to come together to share their creative expressions and joy. I teach visual art and integrative embodiment medicine – a mix of yoga asana, breathwork, and embodiment exercises. I am committed to supporting the work of living artists and creating space for people to thrive.
RB: 1020 collective is a multi-faceted art and event space located in the heart of downtown Erie. We offer space for exhibitions, recording music and podcasts, a myriad of events, and other opportunities to connect and commune with our creative community. So, rewind back to 2006, 2007. This building was purchased by my father Jon Bowser and Tom Ferraro, and they actually did the original renovations. This was Tom's studio for a number of years, up until 2015, when it was sold to the Lake Erie Ballet. The ballet was here for a few years. And then this building went up for sheriff sale. So it's always been on my radar. And I've always loved it. It's been an option and I've always been passionate about the space. I was here when I was super young, like 10 years old, when it was in need of revitalization, basically. I've always had these dreams about it and sketched up a whole floor plan for it when I was in high school. And then I thought the dream was dead. I thought that it was over. I was set to work in transportation. I was going to move to Memphis, Tennessee. This was after I graduated from Gannon. I went there for marketing. But it all fell into place. And when it went up for sheriff sale, we came in and got it. So that was the end of 2019. Right before COVID [laughs].
JH: We looked at the space with the Erie Reader around that time. We were going to do our 40 under 40 Experience party there. But then it was going up for sheriff sale, and there was a lot of uncertainty around it at the time [laughs].
RB: Sorry for blowing that up. The opportunity is back again. But I'm a musician, multi-instrumentalist, and producer and always had a dream of building a music studio. So that's my passion behind those walls there. And then I envision it being a gallery space, a community space, with plans for a community garden, all of these things. JH: You've got lots of space out there. RB: Yeah! We had like 10 to 15 concerts planned for 2020 and had to cancel them all, because of COVID. But then in July of 2020, we had an art show here with Tom Ferraro, Ron Bayuzick, and Brian Pardini. And that was kind of the kickoff to being back here.
JH: We did a nice piece on that at the Reader, Mary Birdsong did.
RB: Yeah, and that's actually how I met Sarah. That's part of the tie-in, because she came and saw "Barracuda." Then the NPAA was doing a show here after that, "Sense of Place," and Sarah was the curator. So that was kind of our introduction to each other. She was also selling bread here. And we chatted for a while because Sarah walked in, and she was like, "this is my dream space. This is everything I've been looking for. I have been dreaming about building a space like this." And, you know, having a community space with a dark room and a clay space and a store and to promote Erie-based artists. So then she ends up going back to Florida, and we kind of slowed down at the end of the year. We had Alexa Potter here [with the "I Found it on the Ground" exhibit]. Then we had an exhibit with the Fiber Arts Guild in November and Dafmark Dance.
JH: So with the community events, I think that that's what's bringing a lot of your people in for all the different things. Can you talk about that?
SM: Sure. When we put up "Expressions," which was a solo show of work that I made, new work that I made primarily in 2020-2021. Paintings I made with my daughter, works I made on my own alongside her. So kind of a new way of showing my work, which is photography, clay work, and painting. Part of the purpose of it was to talk about creative expression and invite others to express themselves. And to show the ways in which they express themselves that lights them up, and to give them a platform to come here and do that. So we invited at that time Mabel Howard to do "Express Yourself" on the mic. Stevie T. Stahlsmith, aka the Lake Erie Medium — we invited him here to do his readings. And I taught weekly yoga classes and meditation classes, as well as art classes for adults and kids. It was a lot of "look at this work, play with this work, make your own work," there's really not a lot of limits. And at the same time, lots of different friends — I grew up in Miami, Florida — were passing through. We had a concert with Afrobeta, who's based out of Miami, and they came and then they taught a music workshop as well during that time; it was very playful, very fun. And while that was happening, Rick and I continued to speak about our shared vision for the space, our shared vision for Erie, and our shared vision for creating this independent art space, which is a space for the community to freely express their passion and their creativity. And so we've continued with the poetry nights, which happened really most Fridays. We've had several different live music events during that time and invited many different people to share what they like to do. Singing bowls, sound baths. What else am I missing? Different yoga classes …
JH: Cooking? The pop-up dinner?
SM: Yes, the dinners came from that too, which is a long-term vision and dream of Rick. And together, we worked on that. We've had five dinners. That's giving a platform for local chefs and food enthusiasts to share their food with the community. And we set up the tables in the middle of the gallery with candlelight. And it's activating the space and the gallery and the art in a different type of way. You're experiencing live piano while eating a delicious meal that's cooked on site. And engaging with new people. And every dinner has been exciting because people have never been here before. And they come for the dinner and then they're sharing because I have one long table they're sharing with each other.
JH: Food always gets me. I remember when I was really starting to pay attention to this space, along with the yoga and poetry and a lot of your music events, I thought it was so beautiful. It's something that gathers people. It definitely caught my eye when you started doing that and posting the photos of people in here enjoying the art and the space together as strangers.
SM: Definitely. And bringing people in that may not come for a gallery opening, but will come for a six-course meal. And then enjoy the work and ask questions about the artwork and learn about their local community, or different types of art-making. Where all those things intersect has always been my passion as an artist and as an event producer and as a curator, and it's the type of thing that I like to do. It is important to us that every time someone comes to the space, there is a new experience, a new feeling, and you're learning something new, even if the exhibition has not changed.
JH: So that leads me into, what's next? Any other new exciting things coming?
RB: Musicians and podcasters can book studio time through our shop page on our website. We have just started recording local musicians and it has been thrilling. We're excited to host a special evening Friday, Feb. 25 in collaboration with Radius CoWork. Both spaces will be exhibiting artwork by Erie-based artists, have live music performances, along with food and drink. Jared K Faulkner's solo exhibition of new paintings "Ways to Avoid Death and Other Tragedies" will open that evening and run through the end of March. The event starts at 6 p.m.
Saturday, Feb. 26 is Gumbo Sound II, a night of hip hop with Erie-based artists, and artists from the tri-state area. This is hosted by Elias If Only and 1020 Collective.
SM: We're launching our membership program, then our space will be available for the community to come and work together to learn together. That will be launched soon, with all the details of what that means. We have a couple of art shows in the pipeline that will be announced later. The Recording Studio is a really big deal. And we're working on our upcoming photography darkroom that has been long-awaited. As well as offering the space for event rentals, for photographers to use the walls. And the dinners are an inspiration. But we're really excited to have large and small events going on inside of this space. And there's that plus we have some live music shows that are coming as well.
JH: You guys are busy. I love it [laughs].
SM: Our art classes will resume, our yoga classes will continue. The main difference between us and other spaces is we are a community space. It is for gathering, for sharing, for learning, and communing. We have expansive space upstairs and downstairs for use for a myriad of options.
For more information, go to 1020collective.com, or visit the space at 1020 Holland St.