Since last September, when the art space and creative incubator GAMBA Forest opened its doors at 231 Norman Avenue, it has hosted artists working in nearly every medium and genre. Last Saturday night, over fifteen of those artists came out to support the first of two fundraising events GAMBA is hosting as it gets ready to head to new digs. As artists shared their music, poetry and dance, one attendee welcomed others by passing out flowers.
GAMBA Forest and its welcoming vibes will be relocating in September, and is asking for your help to ensure that “the artist community that has united at GAMBA Forest will not be lost or displaced.” To do that, Melissa Hunter Gurney and Chris Carr, of Brooklyn Wildlife, who run the space, need “to raise the money for the ridiculous amount of funds attached to putting down on a new commercial space in Brooklyn.”
The pair needs to solicit funds, because GAMBA isn’t run like a business. Chris says that profit margin “often can be cancerous to creativity, and for us, the goal is creativity.” They are aware that rising rents around Brooklyn have hit artists hard, and feel that “it’s hugely important to keep community art spaces alive.” So, instead of charging artists to use the space, Chris and Melissa offer GAMBA to friends and fellow artists whose work “fits the vibe” they are going for. That way, Chris says, “people who are self-motivated, who are actively working in their art field and creating the scene around them” can have a space to showcase their work.
And that work comes in all forms. Melissa explains, “We do theater here, we have performance art, we have hip hop, we have rock and roll, acoustic vocalists, female vocalists – so many different types of events – we have a woman of color showcase, we have producer showcases, we have literary events and readings, pop-up shops. We’re doing a show right now called “What Should be the Fear,” it’s a one-man show with Shakespeare and Blues and Hip Hop which is awesome. So, for me, the diversity of the space is just unbelievable, and I never see it anywhere, so I’m really proud of that.”
In order to welcome such a wide array of art and artists, GAMBA takes donations. Any help you can provide is vital. Melissa says, “the only way we can continue thriving as a space is with the help of the community.” And it’s the artists themselves who create the GAMBA community. Chris notes that “it organically developed out of having a space that provided an experience that people have difficulty finding.”
Chris and Melissa are not sure where their next space will be, but they hope that the GAMBA community will only continue to grow. Their next fundraising event for the move will be in mid-August, so stay tuned. In the meantime, you can donate to GAMBA here!