Parkhaus15 in Orlando

By April 28, 2021
Installation view of Leah Sandler: Utopian/Vermilion at Parkhaus15, 2021. Image courtesy of Parkhaus15.

Location: Orlando, FL
Hours: Open by appointment only
Website: parkhaus15.art
Operated by: Sandra Zanetti, Kevin Cruz, Mär Martinez, Weston Throckmorton, Gabe Marino, Leo Cordovi, Sarah Taylor, and Sara Rentas
Opened: October 2020
Most Recent Exhibitions: Friedrich Andreoni: Florida I Thought I Saw You, Carrington Ware, Mär Martinez and Rachel Kinbar: Remembering the Words to Our Song, Leah Sandler: Utopian/Vermilion
Upcoming Exhibition: Ivan Riascos: The Galileo Affair

New Orleans Film Festival: November 5-21
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Burnaway: What are your expectations in running a new DIY project in the Orlando area?

Mär Martinez: Parkhaus15 was conceptualized in October and founded this year by a team of artists to create a space for experimental art in a city that values commercial art.  We noticed a lack of collaborative art spaces in Orlando where artists could come together. We have put together a DIY artspace to give challenging work a home ,while also giving visibility to performance, screenings, lectures, installation and multi-media artwork. 

We knew that there were other like-minded artists in our area, but it was hard to tell to what extent people would be interested. The other DIY spaces I am aware of center mostly around music. Central Florida is known for what I call “pelican art” so we were kind of shooting in the dark for this project.I think a year of seclusion due to COVID put things into perspective— events were’nt happening—so we decided to create the resource we needed. Sandra had the space and everyone pooled their resources and talents to get it started. 

Prepping for our very first show was exciting. Sandra, Kevin and I were running around Home Depot trying to figure out how to turn a garage into a legitimate exhibition space. Our first show, IN THE FLESH, featured six artists from all over the US. The turnout was surprising and in total we have now had 300+ people come to the gallery.

BA: As artists yourselves, can you reflect on how and why you decided to operate an alternative artist-run space and how it has affected or influenced your own studio practices?

Poster designed by Raffael Kormann for Florida I Thought I Saw You, featuring Friedrich Andreoni at Parkhaus15.

MM: There’s something exciting about knowing that you can lean in on your peers and trust that together you can make something really meaningful. Often in arts academia, individualism  is emphasized over the accomplishments of a collective or organized collaborative movement. I’m primarily a painter, which is typically regarded as a solitary activity, so I personally have appreciated the team-based approach to creativity.I partnered with Rachel Kinbar to create an immersive environment where we renegotiated customs and cultural conventions of our Jewish identities through a feminist lens. I can’t name a lot of spaces in Central Florida that would have accommodated that specific exhibition proposal.

Swan Coach House Gallery: private nature through November 4
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Having a DIY space has freed everyone up a little and helped us drop our own weird hang-ups about artmaking. Everyone involved on our team has just recently graduated, and working in an experimental space has encouraged us all to push farther outside of our self-imposed confines. Providing a physical destination for work that would otherwise hang out in the obscurity of a hard drive has encouraged people to experiment in digital media in a way they didn’t before. Our exhibiting artists’ work range from sound art to site specific installation to meditative environments.

BA: A lot of artist-run spaces position themselves against an institution or institutional idea. Is that the type of space that Parkhaus15 occupies?

MM: I wouldn’t say we are 100% anti-establishment; we operate with set hours, a standardized application process, etc, but we have no emphasis on profit.  This is pure passion. Parkhaus15 is home to work that resists commodification by its very nature like performance/temporary site-specific installation/sound art. We do not charge artists to submit, nor do we take a profit off the work in any way. Parkhaus15 experiences an exorbitant amount of freedom by sidestepping the stressors that commercial spaces often face. Parkhaus is a nonprofit donation-based project.

Parkhaus15 is committed to diversity and inclusivity; our exhibits feature a blend of ideas and narrative, ranging from queer BIPOC experience in the south to a staging of an imagined post-capitalist history center. We’ve been able to showcase niche work and hyper-focused exhibitions without being burdened by a bottomline. One of the goals of the space was to be able to pair local artists with international creators to create a rapidly expanding artistic conversation. Despite our geographical location, the artists in our area have created visual research that parallels work happening around the world. The contemporary scene in our area has been slowly building itself up, and grassroots organizations are able to connect with the community in a way institutions never could. 

BA: As a DIY artspace with goals to give visibility to performance, screenings, lectures, installation and multi-media artwork, how do you see your programming expanding or incorporating these goals throughout the next year? 

MM: We are currently in the process of developing our sophomore year of programming. We have had an amazing turnout in our first season, considering the mental and emotional impact last year had on everyone. I think people are desperate to engage with the arts in person; having a small space that’s reservation-based is a different experience than an opening at a larger gallery. Patrons come with the intention to really interface with the work. It’s been so gratifying watching the community support the creativity we have in our own backyard. 

We are in the process of solidifying details on the second season which will have a good mix of installation, sound art, film and VR-based projects.We are also partnering with another DIY space in May to create a twelve hour collaborative livestream exhibition. I really see Parkhaus15 as the little garage-gallery-that-could. We’ve been able to break a few rules and make some of our own. It’s been a lot of work, but Parkhaus’ hardworking team of artists have all brought their own skills to the table. At the end of the day you really just need a committed group of friends, a space, and a lot of organization. Sometimes you have to carve a space out for yourself, and that’s exactly what we did.

Installation view of In The Flesh: Emily Emond, Brittany Metz, Mathuson Anthony, Benjamín Valentin, Brett Henrikson at Parkhaus15, 2020. Image courtesy of Parkhaus15.

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