People often ask about my inspirations and how I developed @the14thfactory. This is my story...
After months of painting, cleaning, building, carpentry and welding, the project was complete. But of course another drama. A week before we opened we almost collapsed as we couldn't get a permit and then ran out of money, the landlord threatened to close us. Justin came up with the idea to turn the project into a film set, so people entering had to sign a waiver to be in a documentary about an art exhibition and that's how we were able to let people in. We convinced the landlord to take the ticket money until the rent was settled and with zero marketing, just friends telling friends, and no opening event sponsor (people bought their own alcohol) in March 2017, The 14th Factory, after 5 years of delays, finally opened.
At the opening people were overwhelmed, many commenting they had never seen anything like it before (in a good way!). People were emotional, excited, and just loving it. The outpouring of positive response was something I've never seen at an exhibition before.
The first few weeks were quiet but word of mouth slowly spread and the crowd started to build. By the end of the run, people would line up for an hour or more to get in, thousands of people every day. The first adopters were simply the local community, with who we had made many friends, but as word spread, the hipsters came, then the general public, followed by the art crowd and celebrities......always late to the party.
With no staff budget, we were lucky to have endless volunteers who would work for free. It seemed people just loved being at the space and we really grew a very diverse, scruffy and super cool family.
The energy around the show was remarkable, it was truly vindicating, it’s was nourishing, inspiring, meaningful, people from all walks of life attended, a huge amount who had never even been to an art gallery before and people seemed genuinely moved....and I’ve never hugged so many people in my life! And I'd certainly never seen people cry at an art exhibition in my life. It really had a wonderful impact. We were a success!!