2220 Arts + Archives is dedicated to non-commercial, adventurous and experimental arts. If you want to make sense of it, come and see.
Our mixtape currently includes music, film, and language-centered arts, but also hybrid performance and uncategorizable works. We encourage artists from different communities and practices to talk and collaborate, and to break down the compartments of genre, form and discipline. Aspirationally, in a city often too given to niches and silos, we hope to blend audiences and communities across styles and artforms in the process.
We have self-organized as a volunteer-run programming co-op – a slightly tilting umbrella for roughly a dozen complementary arts nonprofits, independent artists and curators to host 1-2 events a month at the venue. We host resident programmers, who schedule the majority of their events at 2220, and maintain office space here. We also host guest programmers, who are itinerant, and may bring 3-4 events per year to the venue, and also to many other venues across the city. This structure is part pilot, part lark and part octopus ride – one can only hope it works as an organizational model, and is sustaining.
We’ve chosen an intentionally modest place-based name (2220 Beverly Blvd is our street address), because our venue is the container, not the contents. Instead we want to foreground the artists, series and programmers that inhabit the space. We’re very grateful for the building, but the people and ideas that come to it are its vitality.
While we’re conscious of our place in the community, we are not hyperlocal. We see Los Angeles as a world city, and want to give safe harbor to international artists as well as Angelenos and Californians. We want to reflect the illimitable diversity of our city, and give voice and stage to younger artists, while honoring elder innovators, wild thinkers and radical communities of practice. We particularly celebrate the autodidacts and ‘ordinary intellectuals’ who have long given this city its vibrancy, strangeness, dissensus and intensity. We're open to all genres, but are particularly interested in artists testing the limits of their categories.
2220 is not profit-seeking, nor looking to build a brand, push product, etc. We want to try to stay adjacent to and in service of the art, letting thoughts, emotions, experiences, inquiry and rapture be the work, the focus, and the reward of what we’re supporting. Our ethos is non-institutional. While we have dear friends attached to museums and schools, and we may partner with schools and museums, we’re intentionally trying to avoid museumification or over-administration – to stay scrappy, self-organizing and DIY for as long as possible.
Because we’re artist-organized and artist-driven, we try to keep our paid operations team fairly lean, focused on supporting actual events, maintaining our venue tech, and keeping the house clean and safe for artists and audiences. We want our operating revenue to flow as much into programming as possible, and avoid growing a large ‘creative workplace’ and bureaucracy. Our space directors are calendar-focused and avoid top-down planning and art direction, in favor of listening and coordinating among our different programming entities, and otherwise just balancing and EQ’ing the mix.
We’re a collaborative multiplicity, and we watch and learn from other models around our city and elsewhere. Artist-organized spaces in LA we’ve taken inspiration from over the years include LACE, the Underground Museum, Beyond Baroque, Machine Project, the World Stage, Human Resources, as well as storefront and DIY venues like Pehrspace, the Smell, Coaxial, Studio Z, the Blue Whale, the Wulf, Now Instant, Veggie Cloud and others. Peer spaces we admire outside of LA include ISSUE Project Room, Blank Forms, Cafe Oto, Roulette, the Kitchen, Experimental Sound Studio, Anthology Film Archives, and omnibus literary spaces and platforms like Woodland Pattern, Triple Canopy, Ugly Duckling and Flying Object.
We’re always looking out for fellow travelers, and hope to grow and diversify our community over time. We beg your patience as we do so! We’ll inevitably pause to pilot, experiment, evolve and change, and won’t be an always-on entertainment factory any time soon. We’ll make accommodations for slowness, second-guessing, exploration, community feedback, difficulty. If it all works out, we may never be the same.
– A Maxwell, 2220 A + A