Sunday, June 4, 2023
Arts & Culture

Bingo Studios Calls Out to Albuquerque Artists

Art/work space fills gap in city's artistic community

Out on south Second Street, past El Modelo Mexican Food and nestled among a strip of old warehouses along the bosque, you'll find a faded sign for Southwest Bingo Supplies. The building no longer serves as a storage for flimsy numbered cards and bingo daubers, however. The well-camouflaged space is, instead, among the city's newest generation of art spaces.

Bingo Studios began as less of a dream and more of a necessity for Albuquerque creators Lance McGoldrick and Josh Stuyvesant. McGoldrick is an interdisciplinary artist whose work has been displayed in a variety of non-traditional environments. He has contributed as a lead artist to a number of Meow Wolf projects and is currently off in Dallas working on the art collective's newest installation. Stuyvesant is a writer and artist behind a number of local art festivals. He currently constructs "large scale" furniture and has piled up sawdust in countless garages and warehouses over the years.

"Bingo started when my previous studio, The Factory on 5th, was sold," explains McGoldrick. The artist had spent nearly a decade getting creative out of the famed studio/gallery in Albuquerque's Wells Park neighborhood but suddenly found himself without a work space when Factory on 5th shut down during the pandemic. "I reached out to Josh to see if he'd share a space with me, and we set out to find a space. After looking we realized we had to go large in order to get something affordable and that allows fabrication/carpentry work. We found Southwest Bingo Supply derelict and in need of a lot of work."

As Stuyvesant tells it, McGoldrick "was at Factory on 5th when they were closing, and I was in this dilapidated old warehouse that we were all moving out of. We decided to go in together. We wanted a big space, but we knew it was going to be really hard to get a big space without bringing in other people." 

The old bingo warehouse "needed quite a lot of demo and work done. But the bones were good," says Stuyvesant. Together, he and his artistic partner "spent about two years renovating the building in stages." When they took it over, the dusty space was jammed with "400 tons of bingo supplies. Just paper. Not on pallets either," recalls Stuyvesant. "We had to physically remove each one of them." Customers still stop by looking for bingo supplies. "At least once a week."

The first half of the Bingo Studios "came online" in January of 2022. The partners "moved some walls and did some construction" and ended up with four complete studio spaces and a large fabrication area filled with tools and workbenches. Artists were able to fill those four spaces almost immediately. Today, that number has expanded to 10 private works spaces, occupied by encaustic painters, sculptors, assemblage artists, mosaic artists, mixed-media artists and even a "creative technologist," Mark-John Collins (who co-founded Electric Playground on Albuquerque's Westside) .

"Between Lance and I, we have pretty wide circles in the art community," says Stuyvesant. "People knew what we were up to. Some were easy to recruit because they were friends, and others just heard about us through the grapevine and reached out. It's been astonishingly easy to fill the spaces. Which I think speaks to a dearth of space around town for a plethora of artists."

"I am very honored to provide space for artists in Albuquerque," says McGoldrick. "When I got my first studio as an artist 13 years ago, it really fed me and helped to develop and define me as an Artist. Also community is so special, and we get to share space and ideas."

David Estes, a kinetic mobile sculptor who maintains a studio at Bingo—alongside his girlfriend, painter Darci Meranti—concurs, calling Bingo Studios "an absolute godsend." Estes even employs an antique bottle dump across the road as a handy supply cabinet for his kinetic art. "I cannot overstate the importance of this place," says Estes. "No other place like it in town. It's an amazing community of artists."

In addition to the 10 artists' studios, Bingo has a communal gallery. Once a year, each of the artists in the building is given free space to hold their own show. "Lance and I went back and forth on whether we should do an eleventh studio, and we landed on a small gallery," says Stuyvesant. In January of this year, Bingo Studios held its first group showing, which served as the "official"  public grand opening of the space. "We all put something in. Even me," says Stuyvesant. "I don't have any visual work. I put a poem up on the wall."

Later this month Bingo Studios will have its next gallery show. "We actually have an outside artist showing mid-April," says Stuyvesant. "We wanted to open it up to grad students, so we reached out to UNM." Photography student Andrew Roibal will exhibit some of his recent work in a solo show. 

"I'm excited we are showing an undergrad, Andrew Roibal, from the UNM BFA program this April and a group show of UNM MFA students Carla Lopez, Christopher Schuldt and Nancy Dewhurst in May," says McGoldrick. "The rest of the year in the gallery, with the exception of a MFA in November, will be people with studios at Bingo."

With plans for future shows underway and eyes on even further expansion, McGoldrick and Stuyvesant are happy to have a place to work and collaborate. And they're not alone. "This is a dirtier, older space than Harwood or Sanitary Tortilla Factory," says Stuyvesant, looking around a workroom stacked with rusted metal, sun-bleached wood and dozens of half-finished projects. "It has this rough and tumble community. Hopefully without offending any of the tenants, I can say that about them."

Bingo Studios is located at 2112 Second St. SE.


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