Goodbye to Bemis: A Brief History
Updated: Apr 26, 2019
Thank you to everyone who came out this weekend. This was a celebration! One that may have involved dance parties in onesies and a very hazy walk to brunch the following morning.
From the day I moved into this physical space I created that it would be a space for myself and the people around me to fulfill our dreams. This weekend was a beautiful recollection of all that has been and what will now be created. I found myself experiencing sadness, excitement, love, apprehension, appreciation, connection, community and also loss.
I want to share some of my favorite memories of the space from the past 5 years.
The very first Saturday I lived in the space, March 1st 2014, we had a gathering. I knew that I had taken on the biggest challenge of my life thus far and the only way I could make it all happen was to do it with community. So I asked all the important people in my life to come and create the future with me. That night is one I will never get over. Businesses were born and partnerships were forged. Collaboration and creation permeated our evening. This energy persisted throughout the 5 years I spent in this space and was present this weekend as my friend set up his pop up pizza kitchen in my bedroom. One more person sharing their gifts and talents with community.
Who can say that they were able to host their best friend's wedding in their living room? What an honor to be able to open my home to allow two people I care about greatly to commit to each other in front of their community. Being Italian, sharing a homecoooked meal with my favorite people is one of the most healing experiences for me. I can't count the meals celebrated in this studio. There were shrimp and grits for brunch and clam dinners for birthdays. Each of these meals influenced me. Each of these meals nourished my body and spirit.
There is my partnership with Carla Petrulli. Which grew into a very special one. She is my makeup artist, my friend, and also the woman who brought aerial arts into my home. Carla’s partnership helped me discover my incredible love for portrait photography and my passion for using my talents to make a profound and lasting difference in the world. Together we dove into our commitment to serving the LGBTQIA community, which has heavily influenced the meaning of my work and the need to have meaning in my work.
On March 8th, 2016 we started our first sister circle, a monthly event where a group of woman got together and shared food, drinks, and our hearts. I am so grateful for every single member. I am grateful for the healing, vulnerability, growth, and non-judgmental community that was formed. Through hosting these events, I learned how to balance the masculine and feminine sides of myself and how to honestly hold space for a group of people so that they feel safe and at home. In that way, I became a leader.
There were Seahawks Sundays, some of my favorite days in this studio. I would wake up early to make breakfast. Chicken sausage and garlic fried rice. Something that would stick to my ribs. Something that would sustain me for the rest of the day. Then the parade of friends would begin to arrive. We would run around in the streets enjoying fans that became family, even if just for the day. We would come back to watch the game, eat, drink, and yell at the tv. There were empty bottles of tequila and there was laughter and tears. But the most memorable part of Seahawks Sundays was hearing the roar of the crowd from the stadium, feeling the energy of a shared passion, and knowing we were that close to the action.
Finally, there was Bemis. The building itself. A community of artists of every medium.
How often do we have the opportunity to collaborate with our neighbors? Borrow equipment, give referrals, and help look for your missing cat. How often do you walk out of your home to see open doors with handmade wood installations, chairs stacked four feet up to make room for a photoshoot or intricate miniatures fastidiously placed in hallways and elevators? Bemis gave me a chance to be a part of a larger artist community in a way I had not previously experienced.
Oh the events that were hosted in this studio. The aerial artists, the clothing swaps, the bondage classes, and opera singers. I got to support my friends.
As the sun sets I watch the shadows move across Kait Rhoads' Wandering Diatoms in the hallway above the tree, our tree. And like those shadows I see my future shifting in front of me, a new horizon.
There are three weeks until I leave for Mexico. The countdown begins.