Frustrated by the number of vacant buildings in Boston neighborhoods, Stephanie Lee and Ellen Shakespear co-founded Spaceus to transform some of those empty structures into havens for artists to connect with one another and the community. The two MIT architecture students dreamed up the idea out of their own desire to network with other visionaries. “We were always looking for ways to break out of our institutional silo and connect with our neighbors and with other local creatives,” Shakespear says. “We are most excited about how collaboration can advance people’s work and give them the opportunity and safety net to experiment.”
Through September, Spaceus will reside in the Roslindale substation, which will function as studio space for artists of all mediums. The Classical Revival-era building will host public programming that spans from gallery exhibitions to hands-on classes—including a gardening workshop led by MIT professor Laura Knott and a bazaar by the Boston Women’s Market. In addition to workspace, Spaceus members will have access to an on-site gallery to display their work, hold performances and organize public workshops. Plus they can also partake in professional development programming on topics such as long-term career planning and the ins and outs of city resources available to local creatives.
On Spaceus’ impact on the Boston community, Shakespear says: “For residents, we hope we can create a way to support local arts and support local artists, and we hope to invite them to experience art in an active, personal way.”