A conversation with the founders of an unusual new art and literary studio on Atwood Avenue.
A lot of the workspaces and studios that artists use in Madison are kind of tucked away, whether it's visual art studios at the Art Lofts on the UW-Madison campus or music practice spaces off in the industrial areas of town. Perhaps that's why a space called Everyday Gay Holiday stands out so much. Seven different artists and writers, all of them from the LGTBQ community, use it as a workspace.
But for people walking by its storefront on Atwood Avenue, there's a presence and openness to the place that's unusual. There's usually art in the windows, and even though the space has only been open since summer 2017, it has already hosted a range of events, from readings to film screenings to photo studio pop-ups for LGBTQ families. It's also got an impressive library of fiction, poetry, comics, and more.
"We had to pick a name and it just kept coming to me," says Kim Charles Kay, one of the space's founders and resident artists. "In kind of world-building, if you speak to the thing you're wanting to have...having a space but that feels not outside of, but it's everyday, it's totally mundane, but also beautiful."
Another of Everyday Gay Holiday's founders, poet Oliver Baez Bendorf, says that Everyday Gay Holiday grew out of a sense of creative community, and a desire for "a more open and flexible space as opposed to all identical little boxes with doors that we could close."
The other folks making EGH their home base right now are comics artist KC Councilor, photographer Caitlin Barry, artist and UW-Madison history professor Finn Enke, fiction writer Tia Clark, and musician/visual artist Sylvia Johnson, probably best known to Tone Madison readers for making music in their projects Midas Bison and Gender Confetti.
The events held at EGH so far have included readings from poet Gabrielle Calvocoressi and UW-Madison women's studies professor Dr. Sami Schalk. The next is a comics slam on April 28, part of WUD Art's comics symposium. The event will feature comics artist John Porcellino, who spoke with us in 2014. The organizers and residents of EGH are also thinking about the space's future, as Bendorf and Kay plan to move on from Madison to Kalamazoo, Michigan. Kay says Johnson will be helping to steer the space's future, and EGH is currently seeking financial support through Patreon.
Kay and Bendorf recently sat down with Tone Madison contributor Phoebe Schough to discuss how the space came together.
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