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Milo Arts Celebrates 30 Years of Self-Sustained Community

Taijuan Moorman Taijuan Moorman Milo Arts Celebrates 30 Years of Self-Sustained CommunityPhoto by Bryan Ortiz.
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In 2018, Milo Arts celebrated 30 years of the vacant school turned artist live-work community. Now in conjunction with the fourth anniversary of 934 Gallery, which opened in June 2015, Milo Arts will celebrate 30 years with an exhibition at the gallery from June 7-21.

Photo by Bryan Ortiz.

“From the Outside In: Snapshots of Milo Arts In Its 30th Year” features newspaper clippings, historical flyers, and mixed-media work acquired through the community’s history.

Curated by artist and Milo Arts resident Evan Primmer, the exhibition also features photos taken by fellow residents. Artists were supplied with disposable film cameras and 35 mm film, with the instructions to document their daily lives in Milo Arts, says 934 Gallery executive director and Milo Arts resident Abigail Hartung.

“[There were] no restrictions on what was to be documented, just capture snapshots of daily life. Of course, a few of the residents are professional photographers … but many are not and didn’t know much what to do or the camera,” she says. “The thought was that the whole photographic process and the output of the print enlargements kind of reflect the nature of the artist’s living environment. The kind of grittiness, those imperfections that you find in these film photographs, and in their enlargements and the graininess.”

“So, how there is beauty to be found in the imperfections, she continues. “And that kind of mirrors aspects of the artists living experience in this old school building.”

Newspaper clippings from the exhibition tell a story as well. Milo Arts community owner and founder Rick Mann has had a tumultuous journey in keeping the community’s doors open, from code enforcement to internal discord and structural repairs. Also included are artifacts gathered from renovations of the building’s 1920s era heating system.

Photo by Rick Borg.

On Saturday, June 15, Milo Arts will hold a panel discussion with five resident artists of different eras discussing their experiences living in the artist community. After the panel, Milo will offer small group tours of their building in a rare chance for the public to see the community from the residents’ perspective.

“There are many other artist communities that are only workspace, but Milo is unique in that it is both live and work accessible for the artists,” says Hartung. “It is a very supportive, collaborative environment and works well for artists to have that kind of connection with like-minded, creative individuals. So just by the nature of the community, the residents interact and it’s a bit like a big family.”

Milo Arts’ “From the Outside In” tour and panel discussion takes place June 15 from 1 to 5 p.m. at 934 Gallery. For more information on Milo Arts, visit miloarts.com.

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