Make.Shift Art Space

A sign for an art gallery with turquoise and black lettering and a turquoise balloon on top with old buildings in the background

Five years ago in a small room in a basement in Seoul, I watched a band play. I walked out when the show was over and spent some time hanging out on the sidewalk with the friend I went with and new friends that she had introduced me to. We walked down a few blocks and went to see another band play. My new friend Amy and I started talking about art and I mentioned that I had been carrying around a sketchbook and attempting to make more art. I showed her my sketchbook. Amy later asked if I would help curate a DIY show with live music in another basement in Seoul for Crazy Multiply — the art collective that she founded with a friend.

That was the start of learning that I could be involved with art. When I put it that way, it kind of sounds like the beginning of a relationship. And as any artist can tell you, it kind of is like a relationship–I would never wish my relationship with art on any lovestruck couple. Before then, I watched friends in Seoul get involved with local art groups and organize shows together. I thought, “I could never do that.” Maybe I didn’t think it in those exact words, but the sentiment was definitely the same. But curating for Crazy Multiply changed my perspective and gave me the confidence to participate.

The art shows that we put on were full of people who had a love of making art but drastically different experiences. Some of us were self-taught and envied those who spent their college years learning to paint in campus studios (that’s me–the envious one) and others had a degree in fine arts. It was a great space for beginners and more established artists alike. Our shows were not in a fancy gallery (although I do love those too) and seemed welcoming to all even if you couldn’t give a monologue about the light and composition of a piece or the historical influences that led to this exact piece being made.

Fast forward five years after that night in the basement in Seoul and I have found the Bellingham sister to Crazy Multiply (they are not actually connected, they’re just very similar in spirit). Make.Shift Art Space is a non-profit with an art gallery, artist studios, practice room for musicians, a radio station, and live music. I was excited to see that they bring together music and art in one space, even though it is in a slightly different way than Crazy Multiply. I knew I wanted to start volunteering for Make.Shift as soon as I moved to Bellingham. I started by operating their booth at the Commercial Street Night Market one rainy September night and moved on to welcoming guests for the First Friday Art Walk now and again. I recently went to an installation training and helped to install the art for this month’s show. I am on the jury for 2020 submissions and I hope to stay as involved as my schedule allows.

Make.Shift is now accepting submissions for 2020 solo and group show proposals. If you’re in the area, you can apply here: Make.Shift Gallery.

The storefront for an art gallery in downtown Bellingham, Washington
Small squares of art making up one art piece on a gallery wall in Bellingham, Washington
Framed collages in small, square frames in an art gallery in Bellingham, Washington
A collage hanging from the ceiling and art on the walls at Make.Shift in Bellingham
A colorful tapestry and two framed collages in the corner of an art gallery in Bellingham, Washington
Collages on a wall next to a doorway leading to stairs with a mural on the wall of a rat caught in a trap
A mural of a cartoon rat caught in a trap with its eyes bulging out of its head
The back room at Make.Shift Art Space in Bellingham, Washington