In 1986, Peter Prinz noticed artists in Alabama did not have many places to exhibit their work. He decided to do something, and the result was Space One Eleven.
“Space One Eleven was founded out of cultural isolation,” said CEO and co-founder Prinz. “Back then, there really wasn’t a space like this for artists to show their work. This area was a ‘flyover zone’ for a long time. Birmingham had such a need for a studio like ours. We had over 500 people visit our first exhibition, and I’d like to think they never left.”
Located in the heart of downtown Birmingham, Space One Eleven offers professional opportunities for artists to create a forum for public understanding and contemporary art. It provides art education to low-income adults and youths in the city.
“We started our Citizen Art program in 1992, where we work with low-income communities and also children in those communities. We received some funds from Alabama Power in order to get that started,” Prinz said. “Alabama Power and the Alabama Power Foundation have supported us over the years in many different ways.”
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Cheryl Lewis is director of programs at Space One Eleven. She has seen the studio expand year after year and offer many programs to the community.
“We have a Visual Arts Exhibition program and an Arts Education program,” Lewis said. “I am very proud of our Arts Education program, where we mentor youth in grades two to 12. We use a sliding pay scale so that no families have a barrier for education for their children. It’s a rather intense program and a very immersive experience.”
Since its founding, Space One Eleven has championed social justice through contemporary exhibitions by women and minority artists. Those artists show their work at Space One Eleven, where they explore, innovate, take risks and provoke thought.
“We have supported artists of all walks of life since the beginning, especially those who did not have a voice,” Prinz said. “We even had a show about gun violence and police brutality among other social justice issues. In the ‘80s we had an artist provide a piece about AIDS. Social justice is still an issue in this day, and we intend to tackle all aspects of it at Space One Eleven.”
Space One Eleven is celebrating its 35th anniversary with an exhibit that opened on Nov. 12 and will go through Jan. 7. Several artists are represented, including David Baird, Gary Chapman, Caroline Cooper, Sally Heller and John Northrop.
And something special is coming early next year.
“We have a surprise event on March 26, so look for an announcement on social media,” Lewis said.
For more information visit, www.spaceoneeleven.org.
This story appeared originally on alabamanewscenter.com