When MASS Collective opens its doors on Nelson Street this fall you may have to reconsider the relationship between art and science. Their purpose, as stated on their website, is to “enrich the community and the world’s creative resources for collaboration and innovation through free exchange of ideas and resources.” It isn’t necessarily a new idea, but they’re taking a fresh approach and bringing new tools to the table.
Walking through the 7,100 sq. ft. Nelson Street building, you can imagine that their vision for providing materials and space to the community for all things creative is certainly possible. MASS is an acronym for music, arts, science, and social. And by collective, they don’t just mean the team of artists and scientists that are currently involved. MASS Collective has a list of programs for which they’ll provide resources, but they’re open to new ideas. Chris Carter and James Caudle founded MASS with the aim that anyone with a membership (comparable to a monthly gym fee) will have access to the tools, materials, and space to aid creative pursuits of nearly any nature. Whether you’re interested in traditional disciplines like photography, sculpting, painting, design, music, or precision craft, they have what you need. They’ll also host a few other areas of interest you may not associate with an art collective—space for a biotechnology and biochemistry lab, a machine shop, a wood working shop, and an electronic lab will be available.
Whether you’re an expert in any or all of these fields or want to learn more about them, MASS Collective wants you to come aboard. “Everyone that is involved,” Carter says, “can be a teacher and a student.” The space is not meant to create silos; it’s meant to destroy them. Collaboration across multiple fields is one of their main objectives, which they think will manifest ideas of new creative endeavors that were previously undiscovered. They want to connect things that others haven’t before. Ideas like genetically modified beer and laser graffiti are a couple of innovative projects they have discussed.
MASS Collective is another entity that aims to play a part in what they see as a paradigm shift. Other organizations like WonderRoot and the Goat Farm have done much to bring together artists and the community in their own ways. There are several comparisons that can be drawn between MASS Collective and WonderRoot. WonderRoot’s mission is providing space and materials for creative purposes, along with their open arms policy for people with plans for impactful projects and those who just want to learn something new. However, WonderRoot is a nonprofit and aims to use art to address social justice issues.
With the success of the Goat Farm in fostering and nourishing artists, as well as hosting some of Atlanta’s best performances, they’ve shown that a space can be used effectively with dual purpose. The MASS facility will also be used to display new work, with plans for a gallery and performance space.
Carter references the My Inventor Club as part of their cohort of forward-thinking groups that aim to bring together people that want to build the future. MASS, like My Inventor Club, is a for-profit company, but instead of selling you a product, they want you to think of and create the product—whatever you imagine it to be—then build a team to teach others to do the same. Whether it’s a photography project or developing a new architecture technique, they want you to use their resources and keep creative license over your project.
Carter speaks highly of Ken Robinson, who is quoted in the upcoming MASS Collective Kickstarter campaign. Robinson, a visionary for education transformation, is calling for a personalization of the education model that will stimulate proactive minds and bring together those that want to learn. With their new facility, MASS is aiming to do this, they want to break down the isolation that can result from existing in the modern internet age. They’re calling for collaboration, a “butting of heads” as Carter says, of all fields, from physics to painting and everything in between.