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Three young artists establishing Garfield gallery, residency space

If you’re already chomping at the bit to get out of your house and partake in a warm-weather activity —say, a gallery crawl — you’ve got something new to look forward to once the ice melts.

Three intrepid young women have started the Bunker Projects — an art residency and gallery space at 5106 Penn Avenue in Garfield, right in the heart of the Penn Avenue Arts District.

“It started with our discovering the space. When we found this building, it’d been partially destroyed by a fire a few years ago, so our first job was to restore the space, and we’ve been doing that with help from volunteers,” says Cecilia Ebitz, one of Bunker’s co-founders. “Because it was so rough, it was sort of an invitation to customize the space and have it cater to the resident artists.”

Ebitz and her collegues, Jessie Rommelt and Abigail Beddall, first met as students in Penn State’s BFA program. All three hail from State College, but didn’t know each other before coming together to study sculpture.

“We had friends who lived in Pittsburgh who’d really touted its praises. The art scene is really accessible and not oversaturated,” Ebitz says, adding that it seemed the natural location to start their project.

When the space is totally complete, it will include two bedrooms, two private studio spaces and two gallery spaces. It will host two artists at a time for three-month periods. Ebitz says they could have the renovations done by the end of January, and aim to show the space and exhibit some work during the Penn Avenue gallery crawl scheduled for February 7th.

Right now, though, they’re just trying to secure enough funding to finish renovating the building. Bunker launched a crowdfunding campaign earlier this month to help cover the remaining costs, about $10,000. They’re nearly halfway there.

“This is the first time we’ve ever taken on a project like this,” Ebitz says. “We have all of our artists scheduled for ’14, as well as a few remote residential projects. We have a bulk of the residency programming all figured out for 2014, but we also want to offer the space as a place for special projects, exhibitions and performances.”

Writer: Matthew Wein
Source: Cecilia Ebitz
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