time & space
To hi-five humanity
Because the world is out of balance
We hold space for
Because you can't change things in a silo
To check, challenge and celebrate one another
For the future
For the fire. For the future.
We think supporting creative work across sectors and identities might be the most radical and necessary thing we can do right now with an uncertain future.
We give people time & space to do their work, converge a diversity of perspectives & ideas across fields, and give the public another vantage to engage complicated subjects.
We're a connector
We connect people and organizations across generations, sectors & identities. Celebrating collective knowledge, wisdom and experience, we work to remove silos, decrease polarization and catalyze whole system thinking. Emergent & established. Rural & urban. Youth & elders. Lawyers & dancers...
We give people & organizations time & space to do their work through residency and retreats, and direct feedback and support. There is incredible work being done every day, but there is often a lack of support, access and value given to it. Creative work needs space to thrive. That's why we're building a Center.
Whether with giant spoons, brass bands, amazing meals, or staying with the trouble, we create possibilities of joy, creativity and action to what’s otherwise overwhelming, debilitating, or deafening. Our work exists in the tension between total overwhelm and outright denial, making holes in wall and shining through.
Do you know
We began 6 years ago in a small room covered in paper. We plastered the walls in former projects & visions for the future. What do we need to thrive? Who is already doing the work? What are the basic needs beyond food clothing & shelter? Where does creativity fit in? Where does it all overlap? Holes in the Wall Collective was born.
Draw me a
In 2014 we jumped right in and found our creative legs in Brooklyn, partnering with Industry City Distillery (before it was Industry City). We produced everything from pop-up benefits to art shows to blowout brass concerts, doing it all from the martini shaking to taking the out the trash. We'll never forget those sunsets, sipping on molasses lemonade and hearing those horns shaking the glass in the only 6th floor distillery ever.
In 2016, we started a Creative Residency on the Art in the Fields property in rural PA. There, in our beloved four bedroom Mary Poppins cabin on those 25 acres, we found our ground and our purpose– to hold space for other people's work, and to do it joyously, deliciously, with skillful confrontation and collective feedback. With symphonies of bullfrogs, fireworks of fireflies and our most beloved residents– our chickies, three seasons later, it was clear where we needed to go next.
A big thank you to Zac, Dave, Ronak, Julio and Scratchy & Jan and Dionisio– we wouldn't be where we are today without you.
We took the leap and got official. We incorporated as a non-profit, built an amazing board and received our 501c(3) tax exempt status at the end of 2019 despite government shut-downs and bureaucratic guffaws out of a Terry Gilliam movie. And then COVID hit, and we recalibrated like everyone else, which led us to our 6 foot socially distanced giant spoon, finding a safe way to engage with thousands of people on the ground.
What’s next? Simply put, a center.
For creative research, reflection and action across sectors.
Building a Center
To support the people and organizations working for the fire and for the future.
Our proposed site in the Catskills will permanently support our programming and ensure our mission while becoming a physical incubator for regenerative building and growing models. It's somewhere close enough to NYC to remain plugged into the din of humanity’s creative engine but with its own non human-centered ecosystem and resiliency for the future.
We come to this work as artists, educators, architects, designers... As people who have spent endless hours on small details for the possibility of creating wonder, and endless days doing what needs to be done to keep the gears turning. We come from many countries, contexts, identities. We can pick up the axe as well as we pick up the pen.
We do this work because we believe in it, are inspired by it and want to support the work that has the best chance to make the future we owe to the world.
Where we get our name
I work, not to make some discourse, but to enlarge the island of freedom which I bear. My job 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 as leaving complaints about the subject of freedom . . .
you must actually get things done.
We get our name from a quote from Jerzy Grotowski, a Polish theater director known for his groundbreaking physical performance and training. A creative mystic, Grotowski eventually left the theater in order to continually enlarge "the isle of freedom to which he bore," and the possibility of art itself. He is one of HWC's ancestors. Look him up.
As artists, we are used to DOING
A LOT WITH A LITTLE.
We are used to being uncomfortable, trying something new, forming new connections, building unlikely partnerships. But to solve what’s ahead and acknowledge how we got here, we are going to need more than artists to take the creative leap.
This is bigger than us.
It's about you too.
Because almost every great calamity or crisis could have been avoided through balance, diversity and creativity. And giving opportunities and representation for new thought and unexpected engagement is essential in achieving that balance.
Being a collective means we are continuously made by who takes part, who participates and who engages. Even if you aren't the one doing the work, you can still celebrate it, support it & be part of this.