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Radical Optimism

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The Center


The interactions and solitude at Holes in the Wall residency came at a pivotal moment in my curatorial career and has shaped not only the project I was working on but every project since.
Nicole Soukup
assistant curator of
contemporary art, MIA

8 years in the city.  3 years on the land.  150+ Creative Residents.  40+ Events. 
12 states & 7 countries.  10,000+ people. 

Over $25k given to 65+ non-profits. 
And we're just getting started.

We don't just do one thing.  On purpose.
whatNOWwhat Change the Climate Pop-Up Be
whatNOWwhat Change the Climate  pop-up benefit at Industry City Distilllery 2017• Photo by Deb Klein

Holes in the Wall Collective holds space for creative thought & action, committed to the idea that creativity is our best remediator for the future. We give people across sectors time & space to innovate and incubate their work, bring them together through meaningful and transformative feedback, and offer the public ways to joyfully engage with complicated subjects.

We don't just focus on one issue or one group on purpose because siloed 'solutions' to humanity's most pressing issues can create more problems and less resolution. Artists, activists, scientists, educators, farmers and policy makers need time & space for collaboration & creativity in their work. That's where we come in.

After a four-year residency at the Industry City Distillery in Brooklyn and three years running a sustaining Creative Residency Program in rural PA, Holes in the Wall Collective is taking our next big leap to build a Center for Creative Work in the Catskill region of New York– while remaining active in the five boroughs of NYC.  ​

what we do

"Popcorn Rock" by Kristyna and Marek Milde-  Exquisite Corpus: the Maize 2016 •  Photograph by Vida Lecari @vida_l_photo


Most of the problems in the world are about something being out of balance. The result of placing value of some things over others, some people over others, some results over others. We think revaluing creative thought and action is essential to rebalancing our planet.  Yet even great ideas can make a mess if there's not a diversity of people and perspectives to hold, challenge & check them.

For ourselves, the earth

and each other.

Rude Mechanical Orchestra- whatNOWwhat Change the Climate Benefit 2017 at the Industry City Distillery • Photograph by Deb Klein


The cultivation of joy is an embodied philosophy of Holes in the Wall Collective.  It’s active, it risks the dance, the leap, the newness like love sending shockwaves through the chest, the power of a sea-swell, the movement of a thousand people in the street.  It is both fuel and the offering of creativity, especially when accompanied by struggle, difficulties, oppression…

To leave traces of
Suminagashi  workshop with artist Linh Truong at the 9th st Community Garden- 360 Residency 2019


Creativity is a leap. For us creativity is not just about artistic practice, marketing, or fingerpaints– it’s the process in which anyone in any field takes a leap that transforms something and has value. On the canvas, the stage, the page... and in the boardroom, the classroom, the clinic. With the rate of so much destruction around us, we need all the creativity we can get.  

To bring together a
collective intelligence.
whatNOWwhat 2016 at the Industry City Distillery • Photograph by Deb Klein


The road ahead is full of obstacles. It can sometimes feel like we're too late, we've already missed the boat, that nothing will ever change. Things that can't be immediately measured aren't always valued and people who think differently are often stigmatized instead of celebrated. Yet we keep on. All of our work is rooted in the possibility of transformation.

That's what makes us
Holes in the Wall Collective. 
My obligation is not to make political declarations but to make HOLES IN THE WALL...that means that my activity must leave behind traces, examples of liberty. It's not the same about leaving complaints about the subject of freedom...YOU MUST ACTUALLY GET THINGS DONE.
-Jerzy Grotowski
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