Amid hair salons, yoga studios, pub-style restaurants and the Easthampton RMV, FUGITIVE ARTS SPACE is a creative haven dedicated to showcasing the work of emerging artists and musicians. Since mid-September, this small storefront gallery has put on an impressive number of short-term art installations, independent book fairs, zine fests, film screenings and music events.
Northampton residents ESTHER WHITE and JENNA WEINGARTEN began Fugitive when a ground-floor space in nearby Easthampton’s EASTWORKS (think Lowell’s industrial mills-turned-artist-studios) opened up. The lease was temporary — just three months. But White and Weingarten saw an opportunity to showcase the work of fellow artists and host the events they wanted to see more of in their town.
“Fugitive came out of a need for alternative art spaces in our community,” says White. “Northampton is known as an arts town, but there are actually very few opportunities for showing work and organizing shows because the rents are high and the majority of exhibition spaces in town are commercial galleries or actually retail spaces with room for art on the walls.” Sound familiar?
Rather than be discouraged by the short span of time they had to work with, the two saw it as a creative challenge. “Knowing that this project is temporary has allowed me to devote more time and energy to the space without feeling drained or over-extended,” says White. It’s certainly no easy task to organize a completely volunteer-run project, orchestrated primarily by a small group of artists and curators. She believes that Fugitive’s pop-up nature “activates the space with an energy that would not otherwise be there.”
Fugitive officially closes in mid-December, but you can catch two more exhibits before that day arrives: A runway fashion show on 12/6, as well as a closing reception on 12/18 featuring a group installation with interactive art and a putt-putt course, no less. And be on the lookout for similar projects from White, whose fiber works will be featured in a group show at MAP (another pop-up gallery in Eastworks), and who hopes to bring Fugitive to life again sometime in the future.