mid 2016 PS1 members update

Dear PS1 sustaining members,

I am writing today with an update specific to those who integrally support us (YOU!), enthusiastic about the state of our organization and the many good things ahead (enough to warrant a short table of contents!). Thanks for taking the time to share in this good news!





I am pleased to announce that a contract has been put in place to hire Kalmia Strong as our Program Director, a role that was long been volunteer-based and now officially comes with a well-deserved paycheck. Kalmia will continue to coordinate the various programs of PS1, including the Iowa City Press Co-op and the Center for Afrofuturist Studies, both of which have been thriving with her past integral (if volunteer-based) involvement. Both programs have a bright future (see below) and we are excited to expand in this regard. We will be pursuing some larger sponsorships (like the one illustrated by Kalmia in this image from 2013).

Kalmia holding a large check in the future IC Press Coop space (April 2013)

Kalmia holding a large check in the future IC Press Coop space (April 2013)


The creation of this position and its future sustainability is a direct result of your support and contributions to our art space and organization. As someone who has been involved for 7 years, I can tell you that while our growth is slow (sometimes much slower than we like) it has been steady (just yesterday we went through the numbers of past budgets to realize we have gone from an annual budget in 2010 of ~$6400 to a projected budget this year of ~$48,000!). In addition, engagement with our programs and energy of our volunteers (from our gallery team to board to print shop members) is at an all-time high. Through time, passion, and energy we have slowly cultivated a center for artists and a name that is recognized in the regional area and well beyond. We couldn't have done it without all of you.

Gallery team members Matthew Fleming and Bea Drysdale signing up sustaining members at PS1 May Day event (2016)

Gallery team members Matthew Fleming and Bea Drysdale signing up sustaining members at PS1 May Day event (2016)


This month we also received a $10,000 award from the Iowa Arts Council for our Center for Afrofuturist Studies (CAS) program (which has received press well beyond the state of Iowa). This award will support 4 visiting artists this fall (more info on the artists on our website), working in a studio at PS1 and engaging in a series of talks, installations, workshops, and other events throughout the fall. The program is a two-year initiative and the brainchild of Anaïs Duplan, with support from PS1 and a great group of local organizers. Updates on the program happen on fb, tumblr, and via the CAS mailing list (write: "subscribe" to cas@publicspaceone.com).

CAS Director Anaïs Duplan introducing visiting artist and current Pew Fellow, Tiona McClodden, at first CAS event (May 2016)

CAS Director Anaïs Duplan introducing visiting artist and current Pew Fellow, Tiona McClodden, at first CAS event (May 2016)


As we continue into year 2 of our sustaining membership program, we are devising plans for member incentives. We cherish the willingness of our members to support us without these additional expectations, but also realize there are some good perks we can offer. We are also interested in any feedback from our members along these lines. One small incentive that we are able to offer and pleased to announce at this time is a 10% discount off workshops at the ICPC. (Just use coupon code: "ps1member" at the checkout)

Gallery team and IC Press Co-op member, Chrissy Cooper, screenprinting an alterego with Leo during ICPC Superhero Gear camp (June 2016)

Gallery team and IC Press Co-op member, Chrissy Cooper, screenprinting an alterego with Leo during ICPC Superhero Gear camp (June 2016)


As great as all this news is, we are still engaged in a campaign to secure the long-term health and mission of the organization. Along those lines, here are 3 things you can do to leverage your contribution:

1) Share this email with a friend, perhaps a fellow art enthusiast who would want an organization that offers radical inclusion and cultivates homegrown culture and opportunities like ours to continue. As you know, we make ends meet through $5-$25 at a time. Encouraging a friend to become a sustaining member helps us move mountains!

2) Send us a sentence about why you support PS1. As we continue to advance our cause, these authentic testimonials go a long way.

3) Give us feedback. We value positive comments as well as constructive criticism. We are also interested in what incentives would be valuable to our members (and future members). We do our best to make sure as many voices help steer this ship as possible!


For all of you who have been an early part of this program, thank you. It may be a small automated transaction on your end, but when we receive it, we put a face to the name and feel a responsibility towards you and your donations to continue to do the work we do. I am happy and humbled to report our stable ground along with these good tidings (and a panopoly of future possibilities!).


John E.

art fest may be over but we're here 52 weeks a year

dear Iowa City artists and art supporters,

The Iowa Arts Festival has come and gone along with a pleasant weekend of art offerings and the final exhibition reception at Chait Galleries Downtown, an important Iowa City visual art venue.

During the weekend, you may have enjoyed the rich local arts culture as represented by Summer of the Arts. We (Public Space One and the Iowa City Press Co-op) were happy to join the Iowa Artisan's Gallery for several hours on Sunday as part of their Art Goes Live demo booths. We demoed gelatin printing and hosted an experimental noise-making station! This weekend we also opened a great sculpture exhibition from Lincoln, NE-based artist Josh Johnson (who is currently a Nebraska Arts Council fellow) and makes work with the materials of construction (polystyrene, wood). The images you're seeing now are from his exhibition Distance Learning which will be on display through June 28th.

BUT I am offering these words today not to remind everyone of what we did last weekend but to the plain fact: that this is the sort of thing we do EVERY WEEKEND! We are a community art venue that seeks more than one celebratory weekend or even a summer of art. We are here 52 weeks a year and that is how many weeks per year we program events, exhibitions, residencies, workshops, readings, and performances. 52 weeks a year. We are a rich, raw, and homegrown, one-of-a-kind Iowa City structure for community art, run by artists (not business people, marketers, or entrepreneurs). We call what we do small 'a' art because our art is for anyone, anywhere, and not reserved for one weekend a year. We are the community's art center, not because it says this on our sign, but because we are where the artists in this community congregate to present, plan, and converge.When the tents fold up and move on down the road, we are here: hanging the next show, printing the next poster, planning something we've never seen before.

Because we operate off no formula other than to be present and push the creative capacity of an artist-run community arts center to new places. Our challenge, of course, is to keep alive this structure that provides a forum for anyone to experiment, engage, or otherwise expose themselves to art and community. To this end I'm asking for your support: we are a bit raw, a bit unconventional, but always here and available. My goal is to keep us here for a long time, but we need your support. Please become a sustaining member today ($5-$10 a month works wonders!) and keep us your community arts center and home for small a art for years to come.


John E.

ALAS! a LAST (link-laden) 2015 eBLAST from PS1: a succinct end of the year report (word healthy narrative-style) for all our people!

dear PS1 supporting members, board members, icpc members, volunteers, and enthusiasts!

2015 photocollage!

2015 photocollage!

This has been an incredible year for PS1 and you (the singular 'you' at the heart of this emails intended 'everyone') played a (major/big/significant) part in that.

As the year turns over we have been reflecting on our accomplishments (outlined briefly below) as well as looking towards the short (2016) and long-term (beyond 2018!) future of our organization. In the next couple weeks we will be touching base with an array of our constituents (in a variety of more specific, communicative forms), but for now we wrap up our 2015 dispatches with a simple letter for you all.

WHAT WE DID (some numbers, some links):

We held 19 exhibitions and art events, including all the gallery shows from Do You Belong Here? (Jan '15) to Maintenance Mode (up through Jan 23, 2016). This included the end of our 16 month project, Invisible Faces (supported by the Iowa Arts Council and National Association of Latino Arts and Cultures) and a landmark exhibition highlighting a vast array of influential PS1 artists: Post Facto Future. Along with some very exciting work from people like Zora Murff (Corrections) and Gyan Shrosbree & Surya Gied (Arranged Marriage)... we also witnessed a couple projects of our people go viral (Taylor Yocom's Guarded and Curt Oren's New Hat (and viral again?).

42 performances happened in the space. Our long-time comedy improv partners Paperback Rhino hosted a dozen of these shows and we welcomed Dreamwell Theatre for their complete 2015-2016 season. Other notable performances included Artemisa Clark's Ana Mendieta tribute There is a Devil Inside Me and Christopher Willauer's Rebellion of Strange Love.

We also held 15 music shows, 5 screenings (including a couple fantastic Headroom Screening Series events), and more than 20 other events filed miscellaneous (we'll let you ponder what most of those could be... though how could we not mention Sanstress: Processor or CrimethInc's To Change Everything tour stop?).

It's rather extraordinary to us (and believe me, we've doubled checked the numbers) that we hosted 79 workshops in 2015 (many free or low cost and including the wonderful monthly Free Generative Writing Workshop put on by Iowa City Poetry and Prompt Press), many through our community print shop, The Iowa City Press Co-op.As the ICPC enters 2016, we do so with an amazing energy and member base (we'll start 2016 with 25 more members than last year!) and a brand new schedule of Spring workshops and events (dropping in the next week or so!). If you'd like to know more about ICPC and our 2016 plans, the first member meeting of the new year is this Sunday (Jan 3 at 5:30) at our location at PS1.

We also participated and represented Iowa City in two major regional arts gatherings: Hand-in-Glove convening in the Twin Cities and ArtsLab Midwest (SD, ND, & IA) Peer Learning Community.

The rest of our schedule was filled with rehearsals, class visits (and performances!), meetings (and more meetings!) and a general sense of being the heart of Iowa City's community art scene. The space was truly enlivened this year in ways not seen in the past with a daily dose of action, dialogue, and community collisions, which manifest so many rich programs and future possibilities. 

Also in the "incredible" category is how this work was done. We operate with one (1) part-time staff person leading an astonishingly dedicated team of artists, advocates, and people dedicated to our distinctive doings. Needless to say, PS1 exists because of the incredible Iowa City community and the passion of many, many people.

Some of this energy came through in the form of supporting memberships (we're always looking for new supporting members!) some in the form of time and energy on our governing board (YES, we are our own tax-exempt, public charity now!) or gallery teams, some in the form of partnerships (both with artists and organizations), and much (oh so much!) in the form of a lively, lovely, and engaged audience. We continue to operate accessibly, welcoming local and interested people to join our gallery team, our music team, and/or our print shop. We also run an informal listserv for local public art opportunities.

As we grow both in the scope of what we can offer in resources for artists and community members in Iowa City and beyond we ask for your continued support, engagement in all forms, and presence. Our lofty goals include making PS1 a long-term downtown community art space, and we look forward to including more people in the many things we do, whether as organizers, supporters, audience members, artists/performers, or all of the above!


Too much to add in paragraph form to this already lengthy email, so I will leave you with some bullet points covering the next few weeks and the promise of so much more to come in 2016!

Free Residency Studio Program (deadline this evening, though may be extended a couple days)

• a new Site Insight mural on our building

• A new round of Spring art exhibitions! (Apply now!)

• A few more weeks to see the excellent exhibition Maintenance Mode

• A full schedule of printmaking workshops (announced soon, stay up to date with the ICPC instagram or facebook)

• an exciting partnership with the Center for Afrofuturist Studies (so much more coming soon, including a dance party fundraiser at the Mill (save the date: Jan 28th!)

Happy New Year & long live small 'a' art in Iowa City!


John E.

ps It's the end of the year, so it would be remiss of me not to pitch you on our supporting membership. If you'd like to be added to this elite list, we welcome new members at any level (even $3 a month). All donations are tax-deductible and come with our ongoing admiration and occasionally, some homemade swag (as Curt Oren would say "stay tuned!"). Members note: you will be hearing again from us very soon as we have a small token of our appreciation coming your way with you year-end gift-giving acknowledgements...

PS1 Sustainer Update - late August 2015

dear PS1 sustaining members,

A letter to you in the midst of a busy week! Read on...


If you haven't yet been barraged with the publicity for this show, let us briefly remedy that. Post Facto Future features work from upwards of 60 artists who have shown in our gallery in the past 7 years at the Jefferson Building and the Wesley Center, from Caleb Engstrom, who founded our gallery programming in its current form, to Jesse Albrecht, a multi-medium artist and Iraq war veteran who presented a solo show, UXO, at PS1 in 2010, to Jan Duschen, who you may know both for her intricate depictions of native birds and for being the awesome assistant manager (and mega community-art-supporter) at Iowa City's Blick Art Materials.

shot from Jesse Albrecht's  UXO  in our old Jefferson Building gallery

shot from Jesse Albrecht's UXO in our old Jefferson Building gallery

The majority of the pieces have been donated by the artists for a sealed-bid auction (in the gallery and online starting this Friday at 7!) that will raise money to sustain our non-commercial art programming. If you have the opportunity to share Post Facto Future with your friends who might be interested, we would deeply appreciate it, and of course, we'd love to see you at the opening (Fri. Aug 28th, 7-8:30p) or closing (Sat. Sept 12th, 7-8:30p). During the show we're also offering sustaining members the change to add a streak (drip, flow, dribble) of paint to our new members wall in the foyer. (Like a brass plaque, but messier!)

Whether or not you want to buy some art, we've been blown away by the range, talent, and generosity of our "alumni" artists and hope that you will check it out at the very least to admire their work.


This from Hannah, one of our two very excellent summer interns. Hannah grew up in Iowa City and was home for the summer after her first year at Reed College in Portland, OR.

I spent this past short-but-long, hot summer working as an “intern” (scare quotes because it never felt that formal) working, helping, learning from Public Space One. I did everything from going through PS1 archives to setting up a series of kitchen workshops that are going on right now. It’s hard for me to put into concrete words why I believe in PS1 (and by extension, why you, mysterious email-reader, should believe in them too) because it’s more of a feeling. PS1 feels open and infinitely flexible if you only have an idea and the time; it is filled with the pleasure of art and creation, but also something more than that: the deep, soul satisfaction of finding a community. For me, being at PS1 was finally feeling at home in a city in which I always felt like a little bit like an outsider. Public Space One is special, a totally unique place for the eccentric (in the best possible way) people who make and create in Iowa City. It's home. 

Here's Hannah, advertising for the wildly-successful free ice cream-making workshop she hosted in early August:

Quick Notes of News Items/Things to Look Forward to

Dreamwell Theater will be presenting its entire 2015-16 season at PS1, which includes Beyond Therapy, 1984, The Great God Pan, Gidion's Knot, and Cock.

Recent Iowa printmaking MFA grad Corinne Teed is our Free Studio Artist in Residence until the end of the year. Corinne's ecology-focused work addresses endangered animal populations and marginalized human communities, and her residency project centers on grey wolves (or, their absence) in Iowa. She will host several participatory public events as part of this project (including a kids wolf workshop in September!) -- stay tuned!

Curt Oren (of Curt's New Hat) will be launching the Curt Oren Memorial Institute for Comedic Safety (COMICS) grant this fall in collaboration with PS1 -- open to all with ideas for making the world more squishy.

Our collectively-run community print shop (if you haven't heard, now operating under the name Iowa City Press Co-op) has a growing membership, expanded facilities within our space (including a new-to-us combination press), and a great lineup of fall workshops and activities in printmaking and the book arts. If you've never been to the print shop, we invite you to come check it out sometime this fall!

The Iowa City Tradition of Summer Goodbyes

For the most of you living in Iowa City, you know you've got to get used to saying regular farewells (usually around the end of the July) to awesome friends and colleagues. This summer we had to say really tough goodbyes to three people who had a huge impact on PS1, in addition to their work in the greater IC community: Sarah Kanouse, Erica Blair, and Max Johnson. There's no way to write about all their good deeds and hard work without sounding obit-esque, and all of them are going on to great work in great places, so suffice to say that PS1 (our gallery, our recording studio and music shows, our increasing sustainability, and our weird) wouldn't be where we are without the three of them.

501(c)(3) & Other Official Biz

We happily heard back very quickly from the IRS and are officially a 501(c)(3) non-profit (!)(!), as of late July but back-dated to May 11th for tax purposes. That means that all of your contributions for 2015 starting from that date are tax-deductible, if you're into that sort of thing. And if you are, we'll be sending you a summary of your contribution at the end of the year to make the math easier.

We are also excited to welcome three new board members this fall: Anthony Manning, Emily Jalinsky, and Sayuri Sasaki Hemann. All three have been involved in what we're doing for at least a year (3+ in Anthony's case) as well as being great community-building artists in their own right, so it's an honor and a pleasure to have them on...board. (sorry.)

As Always

I (Kalmia, the Me writing this letter this time around) am the bookkeeper, among other things, for PS1, and though I know it's the thing to say in this situation, it's also true: the contributions of our sustaining members (you!) make an enormous difference, even the smallest ones. Thank you!

Please be in touch if you have ideas, comments, or questions.


Kalmia Strong
Program Director & Board Member

Sustainer Update for PS1: summer starts with a new chapter

Dear PS1 sustaining members!

Almost two months have passed since our first (May 1st) supporting member celebration and we wanted to touch base with organizational plans that have evolved since then as well as welcome our new supporting members. Thank you for joining us!


The big news is that we officially submitted our Streamlined Application for 501(c)3 status. If all goes according to plan, by August we will be federal-tax exempt charitable nonprofit (of our own, not under anyone's umbrella) for the first time in our organization's 12 year history. A tremendous effort was put forth by our board to make this happen and it is certainly a milestone. I want to acknowledge and congratulate them on this accomplishment. It was the dedication of: Adam Burke, Jeremy Chen, Lauren Evans, Loren Glass, Sarah Kanouse, Matthew Steele, and Kalmia Strong that have brought us to this next sustainable level. Please contact us if you would like more information on how this effects your contribution to our org and congratulate our art workers in person next time you see them!


We are a few days away from signing a lease for three more years as the entire lower level of the Wesley Student Center (120 N. Dubuque St). With this renewal comes a re-imagining of the space and we have already started to make some changes. We added a new 10x16' gallery wall in early June, opened up 200 sq ft more for the print shop (former PS1 office space, now for community use), and added another 72 sq. ft. studio for rent. This summer we plan for more additions to the gallery as well as a transformation of the stage/performance area. We are working with a great local theatre company, Dreamwell, and are in talks to host their entire '15/'16 season at our venue. We have several interesting exhibitions in the plans for early fall including a group show showcasing the past 7 years of PS1-showing artists (from all over the world) and a two-person collaborative installation from Gyan Shrosbree & Surya Gied.


Our large kitchen is one of the best resources we have in our space at Wesley, and this summer we are working to make it more active and community-accessible. Thanks to the efforts of one of our summer interns, Hannah Muellerleile, we'll be offering a series of food-related workshops, but we are also looking for ideas and connections to make it a multifaceted culinary-use space (think Conflict Kitchen or Gordon Matta-Clark's FOOD). We look forward to the metaphorical (and hopefully literal as well) fruits of collaboration with Iowa City's great food community.

IC Press Co-op

As many of you are aware, Zenzic Press is the print shop we operate out of our studio space (opposite the gallery/performance rooms). We have a suite of 10 printmaking workshops offered this summer (please feel free to spread the word... many are yet to come and have space!) but the bigger news is that Zenzic will merge and become one with IC Press Co-op in August. IC Press Co-op is a Public Space One and Paper Nest joint project. We are working hard to fundraise and secure a new level of (and new space for) printmaking/book arts resources for the Iowa City community. This initiative touches on three major components of the PS1 mission: accessibility of resources to artists, independent cultural production, and partnerships that strengthen the arts ecosystem in Iowa City.

Future Plans & Ongoing Gratitude

We have high hopes and large aspirations for what our organization will do in the next 5 years. We hope to come full circle with our sustainability efforts and bridge the funding gap that will allow our unique organization to thrive with artists and organizers being adequately compensated for their efforts. We thank you for continuing to believe in our mission on a monthly basis through participation, feedback, volunteering, and membership contributions. As we build capacity, please know that we are building it together and your involvement, advice, and ideas are an integral part of what we are doing. Your continued support is recognized and we are truly humbled every time we receive a donation. Together, we are creating an utterly unique organization supporting a bright future of possibilities for "small a artists" and audiences in Iowa City.

Day to Day

To keep up on a more regularly basis, there is always our our newsletter, our social media outlets (fb, instagram, youtube, and twitter, which we will be increasing use of via their Periscope app) as well as our websites (publicspaceone.org & icpresscoop.com). And of course, we especially welcome you to come by the space -- there's often something exciting happening that we didn't have the room to mention here!


John E

ps A few pictures from last night's video-game, live score event, 121 by Hubol Gordon & Megan Reiland: