General 6-5-2002

The Elevator in the Rossmore Building

I’m writing this to introduce myself to you as the new editor of the news and features aspect of this site. When I think of trying to explain what I want to do here, I see in my mind’s eye the Rossmore Building, a studio collective in Lowertown, in St. Paul. That big brick-and-glass edifice is covered in windows, each presenting a different kind of face to the world. The vaguely maternal generosity of the facade reveals the separate lives and makings that each window houses: you see, from the street, bedsheet curtains, piles of lumber, empty stretchers, half-visible artefacts . . . . It could only be a collection of studios, could only house a collection of artists.

This site is the same thing, but bigger. A uniform architecture houses thousands of virtual studios, individual spaces in which the making of artists can be perceived. And it is that making, that population of artists, that is the main point of the site. I hope you enjoy wandering the halls, hearing (soon!) the sounds of musicmaking or poetry drifting into consciousness, seeing the diversity of visual works up close, as well as half-seen as they flicker by on the front page and in the indexes. We hope to build the site on the model of the communities of artists that we are familiar with and indebted to; we want the site to support, and not replace, existing artist communities.

My role here, secondary but important, involves the entrance: the bulletin board in the hallway, the talk in the coffee shop, the conversations on the elevator, the charged sensation, riding up, that you’re going somewhere interesting. I hope to provide many voices to you here, the words of critics, artists, curators, musicians, club bookers, audience members . . . . anyone you might encounter in the constantly repainted, always full-of-potential, ancient elevator of the Rossmore.

This first version of the news and features part of the site will contain one interview each month and a new feature every week. Some features will be by artists of all media, some by critics and arts writers, some by me, and some by dead people who have something of relevance to offer. We hope to expand these offerings by fall, as well as expanding the range of available work samples to include sound and video as well as text and imagery.

We’re also working hard to gather news for the site: calls for entries, opportunities, openings, news about artist groups, initiatives, events, publications, venues, sites. Please help us out here–email me ( if, as a representative of an organization, you wish to post news regularly, and I’ll provide you with the means to do so. If you have one-time news, please email it to me at the same address and I’ll post it if it serves the greater community.

I’m afraid we’ll never achieve the gorgeous patina of the Rossmore elevator, but I think we can, like that venerable engine, aspire to transport you to interesting places. Welcome aboard. I appreciate your presence, your support, your information, your interest.