ASU Project Space gives artists a chance to collaborate and grow

A new community workshop series called "Space in Between -- Arizona" by ASU's Project Space opens Friday at the Desert Botanical Garden. (Craig Johnson/DD)

Artists at Arizona State University’s Project Space at Combine Studios have been hard at work, collaborating on several new projects for the community.

Margarita Cabrera, an ASU art professor, is one of those artists, and for the past year she has been working on a new community workshop series called “Space in Between — Arizona” to open this Friday. This project gives local women the chance to tell their personal stories of immigration through sculptures made using sewing and embroidery. Cabrera works alongside the women, guiding them as they create a collection of art.

“We are doing this as a community, so everything that we are creating together is going to be their work, but I’m a part of it,” Cabrera said.

The group has the chance to work together and learn from one another at Project Space. The goal is for each sculpture to include the artists’ personal immigration story on their sculptures, which will be on display through Feb. 12 at the Desert Botanical Garden.

“The exhibition is going to be a grouping of about 75 individual sculptures,” Cabrera said.

In the future, Cabrera plans to take the idea of collaboration and community work she used with Space in Between in other projects.

“The next community project will take place in San Antonio, Texas, and it will be executed during the summer of 2017,” Cabrera said.

As Cabrera and her group worked on their artistic creations, another local resident artist has been preparing for a new project. Although Cabrera has a large project going on, she is not the only artist working at the Project Space.

Hannah Barco is a performance artist who is working on projectWALK, a collection of exhibitions, programs and activities examining the way contemporary artists have used walking as an artistic form. This project fits with Barco’s style of art, much of which takes place in public spaces, using everyday actions such as walking and carrying objects.

“Though I hate to categorize, there are performances that take really different forms that are all part of my practice so, there are many performances that really just entail walking and carrying,” Barco said.

Her unique work captures the attention of an unsuspecting crowd.

“The audience is usually the bystanders. There’s not a coordinated audience necessarily,” Barco said.

Barco’s installation will be one of many aspects of projectWALK, set to begin in spring 2017.

Cabrera and Barco have both had the chance to work alongside other artists and further develop their skills at Project Space, which was established as a safe space to foster artistic interaction and collaboration. The building, on the corner of Third Street and Garfield, was bought by local artists Matthew Moore and Carrie Marill, with the idea to create a collaborative relationship with the ASU Art Museum.

“Their collaboration with the ASU Art Museum was that we would invite artists from all over the world to come and stay here,” said Estrella Payton, the residency coordinator of Project Space.

This way, artists could have a truly creative space where they would be able to interact with other artists and professionals from other disciplines, such as science, to create “broad” art projects. Additionally, the Project Space is a place for locals to tell stories that may be personal from their own lives.

“This creates a safe space that, perhaps, doesn’t really exist quite like this anywhere else,” Payton said.

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