By GRACE STOPHER for the Missoula Cultural Council
Nestled in an unsuspecting corner at Wyoming and Johnson streets, you may notice a little door in a string of warehouses with a blue sandwich board nearby, ushering you inside to VonCommon Studios.
You’re standing in Missoula’s distinct artist collective, VonCommon, which was founded in 2010 as a place for local artists to have affordable studio space in a supportive and collaborative community. VonCommon’s members, locations, and activities have ebbed and flowed since we last checked in with them in 2014, but their mission stands rock-solid.
“It’s always been about providing an affordable place for artists to work. [VonCommon] has evolved in the sense that we’ve been able to make connections with other artists in the community and hold events [for artists to] show their work in many different mediums. Now we have not only visual artists, but also performing artists, comedians, improv contact dancers, musicians, bands, and poets,” explains co-founder Marlo Crocifisso.
VonCommon’s members have a myriad of multidisciplinary interests and skills. In their impressive warehouse studio, you’ll find a kiln, recording studio, custom framing shop, and elbow-to-elbow studio spaces reflecting VonCommon’s penchant for sharing resources and ideas. The warehouse boasts a roomy loft, allowing Crocifisso the space for her new custom framing shop, Art Haus Fine Art Framing. The framing shop is open by appointment to artists and art collectors who want their art protected and presented in a tasteful way. She also teaches other art collective members how to frame their own work.
For the first time as a collective, VonCommon artists are traveling out of Missoula to exhibit their work in a group show at the Hummingbird Café in Butte, MT for the month of July. The exhibition, entitled, ‘Have Art, Will Travel,’ includes a range of artwork by eight of the eleven VonCommon resident artists: Stoney Sasser, Stephanie Colley, Elisha Harteis, Marlo Crocifisso, Nate Biehl, Bridey O’Brien, lady pajama, and Adelaide Every. If you’re in Butte, be sure to stop by the Hummingbird Café from 5 – 8 PM on July 1st, 2016 during the Butte Art Walk to say hi and see their show!
Additionally, VonCommon will collaborate with the Roxy Theater this summer to present VonCommon Vondays, a weekly series on Monday evenings that shows the work of local, regional, and national digital media artists. The series will host many types of films, including shorts, stop motion, and documentaries highlighting art-related topics. The inaugural VonCommon Vonday will take place on Monday, July 11th, at 8 PM, featuring short films by Bat Honey, TheaTerror, Caitlin Hofmeister, Ann Szalda-Petree, Jenny Larson, among others. You can visit the Roxy’s website to find the schedule for Vondays.
VonCommon blossoms beyond its warehouse doors while sticking true to its founding mission: to provide affordable, safe space for artists to do their good work. This group of artists is a great resource to Missoula’s vibrant arts community and to one another. Stop by for a visit, or attend one of their upcoming public programs! Keep an ear to the ground for VonCommon’s annual fall juried exhibition; this year, the theme is “This is What Democracy Feels Like.”
VonCommon is located at 100 N. Johnson #7 in Missoula. To get in touch with Marlo at Art Haus Fine Art Framing, email firstname.lastname@example.org. Occasionally a studio space becomes available to rent at VonCommon for a local artist to join this collective. If interested, please contact email@example.com. Visit VonCommon at their website and Facebook page.