SPACE 42: Life, The Universe, and Everything

Photos by Francesco Salomoni

EVENT: Solo Show & Performance with Michael Alan
WHEN: Friday, April 28 at 5:30pm to 2am
WHERE: SPACE 42 (2670 Phyllis Street, Jacksonville, FL 32204)
TICKETS: available online

The founders of SPACE 42 believe that if you build it, they will come. It’s a hybrid warehouse in the newly-proclaimed Arts District of Jacksonville that combines technology with the arts. “Without art, technology fails,” says Kevin Calloway, co-founder of SPACE 42. Through his extensive background in technology consulting, Kevin has found that most tech geniuses work like artists. “In turn, without technology, art fails.”

Together with business partners James and Charity Higbe, Kevin and Michelle Calloway have excavated the 22,000 square foot warehouse on Phyllis Street behind CoRK Arts District. Properly marrying art and technology to create an innovation center requires an expanse of physical space. The team has been clearing 70 years’ worth of previous tenants’ piled-high accumulations since late January. Michelle laughs at the memory of hauling a metal working tenant’s equipment out of the space. “We’re crazy people.”

Photo by Francesco Salomoni

In the coming months, they’ll refurbish two flex gallery spaces. The main exhibition space covers 8,000 square feet, suitable in size for large-scale sculptural creators and performance artists to showcase their work. The SPACE 42 team is preparing for their first gallery show on April 28, an evening of interactive drawing performance from New York artist Michael Alan. Usually, Alan limits these performance evenings to his space in Williamsburg, Brooklyn, making the evening a special event in Jacksonville. “The space should transcend the city,” says Kevin of the new gallery space. “If cool things are happening in the space, it doesn’t matter where it is.”

Photo by Francesco Salomoni

Both galleries are designed to be variable and tolerant of the needs of any artist that comes to the space to exhibit. The smaller gallery of the two will also serve as a concept store and market space. The store will offer paintings and prints available for sale from the gallery’s artists and other imported arts-centered goods.

A newer side of the building, currently occupied by a tenant, will eventually house IJHANA, Kevin and James’ technological consulting center. As a company, they look beyond technological issues to identify the roots of problems. “The company name means ‘concentration on a problem until it’s solved,’” says Kevin. “It’s a form of Buddhist meditation—meditating on an issue until it’s solved.”

The space will be open to new technological partners, and will also serve as a selective, open floor plan co-working space. IJHANA offers a wealth of internship and mentorship programs, and Kevin and James strive to bring a young tech industry to Jacksonville. “There’s a great wealth of smart young kids here, but there’s nothing here to keep them here,” says Kevin. “We want to build that for them.”

The difference between SPACE 42 and other artistic centers of its kind is not just in the interdisciplinary work. The founders also have plans for an outdoor café housed in a refurbished shipping container and fit with an expansive urban garden. The intention stems from a desire to form community. The Calloways and Higbes are firm believers in connections forming outside of the studio and office. They wish to open up their back fence to invite the CoRK artists into the space. “We just want to open it up to everybody,” says Michelle.

The SPACE 42 team is passionate about giving the people of Jacksonville an opportunity. They believe that offering the space fellow passionate individuals is the first step. The name SPACE 42 is a nod to Douglas Adams’ The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy—the number is calculated as “the answer to life, the universe, and everything.” The team offers up the space as an opportunity for others. A place that merges technology and art without limitations could serve as everything to its community.

Join SPACE 42 and Michael Alan for an interactive gallery opening on Friday, April 28.

About Hurley Winkler