The glass storefront at the corner of West 29th and Detroit Avenue has long been an entrance of sorts to the Ohio city’s Hingtown enclave, housing home goods, cycling gear and a Lululemon pop-up in recent years.
Starting this Friday, it will be home to something completely different.
2901 Detroit Ave. will be home to a multi-faceted creative space called Impossible Art, which will be run by a quartet of ambitious twentysomethings. One, explained Aidan Meaney, a 21-year-old clothing designer and founding member of Impossible, is to apply a kind of cooperative, bare-bones addition to the larger galleries around Cleveland. Here, according to him, “artists completely control the space.”
“It’s just the kind of time,” Meaney said, “that we’re kicking the door down to a neighborhood that we don’t really feel like we’re in.”
Beginning with a grand opening concert this Friday, Meany and crew—Jack Romer, Jacob Boarman, and Ethan Lindenberger—will be testing a separate business model to incorporate their artist-focused programming while housing rotating visual art, shelves of local zines, and about 12 concerts per month. (Lindenberger said the place can barely squeeze in “a small number of 70” diners.)
By offering artists a $50-a-month spot on their rotation wall, while also handing out a $50-a-month access card to subscribers — waving the $15 fees — Lindenberger and Meaney say they’ll be able to both cover the rent and let artists on their own. of choosing to set your own shipping percentage. Such a special access card, which Lindenberger got the idea from a nearby board game bar, will now give a 10 to 15 percent discount at some Hingetown bars, such as Jukebox and The Hangar, where Lindenberger works as a bartender.
“It’s like subscribing to Hingetown,” said Lindenberger, 22, Impossible’s business guru and mixologist. “You pay $50 a month, but you potentially get discounts for most businesses on the block. You get access to activities and classes. You also obviously get access to a co-working space. space [Limelight]retail, and it becomes kind of a community.”
The idea to create a shelter for artists on West 29th, as it turned out, came about a block away. In October, Minnie and Romer were born Found surfacea minimalist clothing company that prided itself on its eco-friendliness—incorporating recycling and “using color-picking robots to minimize waste with low-impact dyes.”
Shortly after Found Surface found a temporary home at Spaces, the gallery opposite, Minnie was approached by Ann Harnett, owner of Harness Cycle, to gauge his interest in opening a storefront after Him & His, a home goods store, vacated 2901 last January .
“And I slept on it a little bit,” Minnie said. “And then I went to Jack and thought that our whole mission is to create, to be the glue that elevates the art scene in Cleveland. But I felt like it could only go as a brand—as an apparel company could only communicate it and execute it.”
Romer was intrigued. He has been designing clothes in Adobe Photoshop and Illustrator since he was 15 and moved to Ohio to pursue his life as an artist. Lindenberger, who lives on the streets in Detroit, was brought in as a community liaison; Boarman, a local folk musician, stepped in as Impossible’s de facto show booker and retail operator.
Four said upfront costs were “normal” for a space like the 2901, though Four wouldn’t disclose exactly how much.
“That’s enough for four twenty-somethings who worked for seven years to build up their savings,” Meaney said. (The pine tables they made to order were, he added, “the biggest expense” so far.)
That’s probably Impossible Art’s biggest hurdle in the next eight to twelve months: how to deal with money — with profit! paid bands! heyday line of hoodies! — adhering to their artist credo.
“Again, we’re going to take it day by day,” Romer said. “Part of this situation is determined by the community working with us on this. If they decide this is something they want to keep in Ohio, they’re going to have to pay for it.”
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