The former Basin Printing building has sat empty since the business closed in late 2022, leaving the iconic building in the 1400 block of East Second Avenue looking ... vacant.
But, since the beginning of November and running until Dec. 3, the cool old building with the two fish-eye windows in the front has taken on new life as Rodeo Odyssey’s SPACE Pop-Up Art Market.
Heading up the operation are Emily Ciszek and Marissa Hunt, Durango artists who saw a need for more space for local creators to show and sell their work. They were able to rent the Basin building for a month thanks to a $24,500 grant from the arts and culture allocation of the city of Durango’s lodgers tax fund.
“That helps subsidize probably 80% to 90% of our rent. It helped with some event equipment and some utilities,” Hunt said. “But a lot of that is going toward paying artists for installations or paying musicians to come in. We also were able to start this up-and-coming artist fund, where people applied and we were able to give a $500 scholarship to go toward their art career – it’s hard to get art supplies, it’s hard to get off the ground, so we were excited about that.”
The two have been working on the project since the spring – SPACE takes up the first floor of the 13,000-square-foot building.
“Every extra minute of every day since May we’ve been focused on this thing,” Ciszek said. “It’s been a lot of planning and a lot of work.”
WHAT: Rodeo Odyssey presents SPACE Pop-Up Art Market.
WHEN: Open now through Dec. 3. Hours: 10 a.m.-6 p.m. Monday to Thursday; 9 a.m.-8 p.m. Friday and Saturday; 9 a.m.-5 p.m. Sunday.
WHERE: 1437 East Second Ave. (the former Basin Printing building).
MORE INFORMATION: Visit https://rodeoodyssey.com.
Because of that work, more than 50 local artists are able to sell their artwork, including clothing, vintage and redesigned garments, ’zines, tie-dye, jewelry, handspun yarn and more. SPACE also features coffee, live music and a host of workshops.
Hunt said that as longtime artists, the two knew they wanted to start a business focused on the arts. It was during a trip they took last spring to Salt Lake City that set the wheels in motion when they happened upon an artist co-op pop-up. It was housed in a two-story building and every table featured a different vendor, Ciszek said.
“We just had this epiphany like, ‘Oh, this is kind of something, not unique to Durango, but just the curation of that space, and it was super well put together,” she said.
Along with vendors, workshops and everything else going on at SPACE, there are also spaces set aside for community members to hang out, have fun and make local connections.
“That’s one of the big things about this space is bringing the community together, making it fun,” said Hunt, who is deputy director at Manna when she’s not at SPACE or working on her art. “It’s cool because in Durango you feel like you know everyone, right? And then all of a sudden, there’s just like 20 people you’ve never met before being like, ‘here’s my art,’ And the artists within here are making connections, too. People have been coming in with heir laptop. There have been people coming in and crocheting and knitting. It’s awesome.”
“There’s been so many connections,” said Ciszek, who is a freelance graphic designer who also works at the Schoolhouse. “And this is a business, you know, we are trying to break even at least, maybe pay ourselves a little bit, maybe our own rent, but the reality is that since this was lodgers tax funded, this is a community space. We have multiple places where people can literally just come here ... this is a community space.”
Heather Narwid, owner of Sideshow Studio, has a space in SPACE for the entire month. She sells vintage clothing and garments she has redesigned.
“They just made a cool space and it’s been really fun so far,” she said, adding that her space was available for a good price and the foot traffic has been pretty busy, resulting in good sales.
It’s also a fun atmosphere to work in, she said.
“The room in the back is super big and industrial chic,” she said. “It’s fun – either Marissa or Emily are always there and they’re amazing – like balls of energy that are fun to be around and have their own artistic and musical and performance endeavors and now production endeavors.”
And even after all of the months of hard work Hunt and Ciszek have invested SPACE, the two have managed to stay friends – maybe even better friends, they said.
“I think we know each other a little more deeply,” Hunt said, with Ciszek adding: “I think there’s a high level of respect. At the same time, we both work really hard ... we’ve been in the workforce for the last 10 years and we’ve kind of weeded out a lot of our own probably bad habits. I don’t want to work with everyone, but I do want to work with Marissa.”