The History of SPAACES
In 2012, Marianne Chapel and her husband Bill, packed everything they owned, put their important possessions in a storage unit and sold the rest at an estate sale. For the next three years, they traveled the world, living in a new country every three months. They were looking for a new permanent home somewhere in the world. It was an exciting but difficult adventure but nothing could compare with their community of Sarasota, Florida. When they returned in 2015, Marianne had a newfound appreciation of Sarasota.
Chapel was so happy to be back, she wondered why she had ever left. She said, “Being gone, I had a sense of displacement. When I returned I really wanted to make the community of Sarasota my home. I wanted to plant roots here.” Those roots came in the form of a new experimental art gallery called, M. Chapel Projects LLC, a commercial art gallery which opened in March 2017.
Chapel was inspired by the contemporary art galleries and artist-run spaces she saw when traveling abroad and in the United States. Although Sarasota has an amazing art scene, she really wanted to create something cutting edge and more user friendly for the everyday, living artist, working and trying to make a living in Sarasota. Chapel wanted to do something new and fresh in Sarasota by exhibiting artists who take an innovative approach to process, materials display and concept.
M. Chapel Projects was located in an industrial warehouse unit on Princeton Street, Sarasota Florida, which also doubled as Marianne Chapel’s personal art studio. Chapel felt her 1000 square foot studio was luxurious and she wanted to share it with others. In her first three years operating as an art gallery, Chapel’s gallery space doubled as her personal art studio. Over and over again, Chapel would take down her work in progress and all her supplies, put them in storage, and then curate and install an exhibition in the same space. She enjoys working in her art studio often and always squeezed in whatever space she could for herself between shows. She didn’t have a designated art studio in the SPAACES organization until 2020.
With the first exhibition as M.Chapel Projects in 2017, Chapel showed the work of herself, Laine Nixon, Cynthia, Mason, and Jill Taffett. Excited to see more experimental artwork from the community, Chapel began to schedule more exhibitions, which led to creating a full season in 2018. She quickly realized that she enjoyed supporting artists and wanted to create a place that focused on benefits for artists rather than on traditional art gallery sales.
In Late 2018, Chapel became fiscally sponsored by Fractured Atlas, a resource that helps artists to succeed as entrepreneurs by providing business infrastructure and 501(c)(3) status. In 2019, she changed the name from M.Chapel Projects LLC to SPAACES LLC. SPAACES is an acronym for Sarasota Project Aligning Artists Communities Exhibits Studios. This new name showed the intent to support artists and the community and the philanthropic nature of the organization.
At that time, SPAACES LLC moved across the parking lot from Unit 2061 to 2087, a unit twice the size. SPAACES LLC remodeled their new space and created an art gallery on one side and four affordable art studio spaces, approximately twelve feet by twelve feet in size, on the other side. The four art studios were rented out to local artists by SPAACES LLC immediately, fulfilling a need in Sarasota. Included in the first wave of SPAACES artists are Laine Nixon, Mooshi Chapel, Cassia Kite, Claudia Ryan and Marianne Chapel. SPAACES LLC was beginning to get attention and other artists were coming to the 2087 Princeton Street location. Zac Gilliand, Meg Pierce, Alisa Hodzic all moved in next door to SPAACES LLC and rented warehouse units directly from the Landlord. In 2021, The SPAACES Foundation INC 501(c)(3) rented another unit, 2076, and remodeled it, with two studios for Marianne Chapel and Claudia Ryan.
After learning more about being a nonprofit by being sponsored by Fracrtured Atlas and studying nonprofit business management, Chapel decided to take the leap and began to do the paperwork to change SPAACES LLC to SPAACES Foundation INC 501(c)(3). SPAACES Foundation INC received it’s 501(c)(3) status and started operating as such in September 2020.