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Local Artists Win Grant to Create Interactive Art Space

Updated: Dec 3, 2020

My friend Doug Shire and I began our artistic endeavors by creating art bikes for Burning Man. In August 2018 we brought a 30-foot tall bamboo puppet to the Nevada desert for the enjoyment of the Burning Man community. And again in 2019 we brought a 12-foot tall giant rideable unicorn to the Ithaca Festival Parade, multiple regional burns, and Burning Man itself. Read the full story here:

And in the fall of 2019 Doug and I had an epiphany. We were at at a movie theatre. We saw the movie Meow Wolf Origin Story. It strikes us like a hammer to our heads and perhaps affects our judgement. The movie portrays the colorful history of the Meow Wolf artist collective, a group of creative weirdos much like our own friends at the Ithaca Generator makerspace. These weirdos live in Sante Fe New Mexico, a small town that has more art galleries per capita than any other town in America. And yet these weirdo artists are outsiders, and the artwork they create out of trash is looked upon with disdain, and the stuffy stuck-up galleries of their community turn up their noses at these artists’ creations. Undeterred, our artistic heros convert a defunct bowling alley into an interactive art space. They stock it with lights and textures and surprises and unabashed fun. And when it opens it quickly becomes the largest tourist attraction in the state of New Mexico. And our heroes triumph both artistically and financially. As the credits roll in the dim light of the nearly empty cavernous movie theater smelling of bubble gum and popcorn and spilled soda in the sad small mall of Ithaca, Doug and I are on the edge of our seats. “This is what America needs!” we cry. “This is what Ithaca needs!” We leap from our sticky seats and immediately begin preparations to create a Meow Wolf styled artistic destination in Ithaca. We name our artists collective, and the destination we plan to construct, “Beyond”.

Doug applies for and wins an art grant from the Community Arts Partnership. 'Beyond' is born. We quickly assemble a group of 30 to 40 artists to help us achieve our dream. We plan an inaugural event for April 4th, 2020. Then the pandemic hits. We persevere, and continue our dream, modifying it slightly to accommodate covid restrictions. We organize various covid-safe events and inexorably continue towards our dream. We are bringing art to a world that needs it. Won't you join us?

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