Alice Yard, based in Port of Spain, draws on the long tradition of communal “yard” spaces in urban Trinidad, places of improvisation and exchange; and on the model of the Carnival mas camp, in which individual creative practitioners pool their ideas, techniques, and energy. Alice Yard is also a model for using participatory online media in Caribbean creative initiatives. It is at once a physical space, a collaborative network, and an ongoing conversation about contemporary art and creativity in this region.
Based in the backyard of the house at 80 Roberts Street, Woodbrook, Port of Spain, Alice Yard is a venue for creative experiment. Since opening in September 2006, Alice Yard has hosted numerous artists’ projects and performances, musical events, readings and discussions, and film screenings. Facilities include a rehearsal room used by various musicians, serving as the headquarters for 12 the band, led by Sheldon Holder; a small dedicated gallery space; “habitat” living quarters for visiting artists; and a multipurpose studio and exhibition space; all arranged around a small open courtyard.
This physical space is the nexus for a growing network of creative partners — in Trinidad, elsewhere in the Caribbean, and further afield — conversing and collaborating in person and via online media. Creative projects within Alice Yard’s physical and virtual neighbourhood include the e-magazine Draconian Switch, covering contemporary art and design in Trinidad; and the literary journal Town, published online and via broadsides posted in public spaces.
Alice Yard’s founder and chief instigator is architect Sean Leonard. He has practiced in Trinidad and Tobago since 1992, and is a director of co-ord Ltd. and Basso Leonard Architects Collaborative Ltd. He has a strong interest in contemporary art enterprises, and has worked with numerous artists, designers, and performers on a wide range of creative projects.
Leonard administers and curates Alice Yard with co-instigators Christopher Cozier and Nicholas Laughlin.
Christopher Cozier is an artist and writer. He has participated in a number of exhibitions focused on contemporary art in the Caribbean and internationally. Since 1989 he has published a range of essays on related issues in several catalogues and journals. He is on the editorial collective of Small Axe: A Caribbean Journal of Criticism.
Nicholas Laughlin is a writer with a particular interest in Caribbean literature and art, and the editor of The Caribbean Review of Books. He is also the co-editor of the literary magazine Town.
Other key members of Alice Yard’s creative network include musician Sheldon Holder of 12 the band; artist/designers Marlon Darbeau, Richard Rawlins, and Rodell Warner, all associated with Draconian Switch; performance artist and choreographer Dave Williams; filmmaker Mariel Brown; and artist Marlon Griffith, who conceived the 24HRS residency series hosted by Alice Yard.
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