The Commons: A Community Resource Parlor is a new collective of artists and DIY-ers seeking to provide space, resources, and tools for people who make things. The collective is having their launch party this Saturday at Powderhorn Park. Here, people can learn about the project, drink some homemade soda, listen to music, and participate in skill sharing.
Tin type photographer, zine aficionado, and trained librarian Lacey Prpić Hedtke, who also was a driving force behind Constellation: A Backyard Art Exhibition, is one of the core organizers of the Commons. She says that she had been talking with her friend Debbie Rassmassun (who operates the Fly Away Zine Mobile) for quite some time about opening a resource space. Then the two friends met a group of three others -- Asa Diebolt, Micah Thompson, and Alicia Dvorak -- who were also interested in the idea.
According to Hedtke, the Commons is loosely inspired by the Independent Publishing Resource Center in Portland, Oregon. IPRC offers tools and resources for artists and writers to self-publish and create work. Their workspace provides access to tools to aid production and distribution of zines, comics, hand-bound books, and artwork. The organization also offers the use of scanners, printers, high-speed internet, letterpresses, a binding machine, an art gallery, a zine library, and "any tool that is expensive," Hedtke says. Like IPRC, the Commons organizers hope to open a space that is either free or low cost for people to be able to use to make things, or just hang out.
Hedtke says that the organizers haven't decided whether they'll pursue becoming a nonprofit or some sort of cooperative. They do want to have consensus-based decision-making. "We're leaving the structure open," she says, "right now we're a group of affiliated artists."
While the Commons haven't found a physical space, they are having their launch party to let people know about what they are trying to do. When they do open their resource center, the organizers plan to have a dark room, metal-working facilities, a zine library, and any other resources that participants say they need. "The plan is to have a place where people in the community can come in and make things," Hedtke says. They are looking at possibly having the space in the Corcoran neighborhood.
On Saturday, anyone interested can come and talk about ideas they might have about what they'd like to see happen with the collective. "We're trying not to have too narrow of a focus," says Hedtke. "It could be anything you need to make something in your life," she says.
The Commons Launch Party will take place on Saturday, July 16 from 3 to 6 p.m. at Powderhorn Park, near the park building.