Brick Haus Collective Feature

Incubator space. Every DIY artist deeply treasures potential incubator spaces and for good reason. It’s valuable to have a practice ground where artwork can be placed in front of an audience and the community can build a scene together.  At the site of Brick Haus Collective, there exists an incubator space that serves as such a space for local artists in Denton.

Need to rent studio space? Brick Haus offers 4 resident artist spots that can be rented out as permanent studios. Want to rent out an exhibition space to put together a dance installation that brings the audience within inches of the performers? UNT graduate Erin Whyte did that. Want to check out an exhibit featuring advanced college artwork with a performance artist who covers his face with a mirror? Done and done.

Founded by Rachel Fischer and Abby Sherrill, Brick Haus is a space for artists run by artists. It exists outside the hectic atmosphere of downtown Denton and inside a former auto body shop. The space was initially occupied so they could have a place to work, but it expanded to hosting exhibits and providing workshops.The co-founders met at UNT when they were tasked with a group assignment to write a proposal. The group name: Brick House.

Abby Sherill

Abby Sherill

Rachel Fischer

Rachel Fischer

They meshed together well as they went through the practice of grant writing, and they saw the potential for working together on future projects.. They have slightly different personalities, but they have the utmost respect for each other. Fischer’s art focuses on sculpture and painting, and she responsibly stays on top of the tasks set before them. Brick Haus director Sherrill's art concentrates on installation and drawing. She's the graphic designer and social media manager who keeps a cool head at times when people tend to give into anxiety. Together they communicate well, and that’s how they are able to continue providing an experimental space.

They are both aware of the cultural value that a budding arts scene can have on Denton. Fischer says, “There are so many young people here just getting a start. There’s all this energy and Denton just needs to provide a platform to carry out their ideas.” Sherrill adds, “It’s not going to be handed to us. We have to make it ourselves.”

Neither Sherrill or Fischer stay cooped up in their space just waiting for artists to come to them. They are constantly traveling and networking with other artists. That’s beneficial for inspiration and for developing new opportunities for Brick Haus. This fall will see them collaborate with the Greater Denton Arts Council to present the Latin-representative works of Giovanni Valderas, who earned an MFA in Drawing and Painting from UNT. Paintings by Valderas will be hosted at the Murchison while his piñata-like billboards will be placed in the outdoor area of Brick Haus. Partnering with DFW based artists can help tie the community of artists together within the entire Metroplex.

One critical thing Fischer and Sherill have learned is that they don’t have to know all the answers, but they make sure they know the right people to ask. Fischer says, “we’ve drawn on other artists and resources that have enabled us to do amazing things.” As for the future of Brick Haus, they are letting it evolve in hopes that any expansion would occur organically. Fischer and Sherrill are remarkably self-motivated artists that want to continue providing opportunities for the young artists of Denton.

Brick Haus Collective is currently accepting submissions for Sonar Scan, a show juried by TCU alumnus Christopher Blay. Blay is an educator and working artist who earned his BFA in Studio Art from TCU in 2003. Deadline for submission is August 28th and it only costs $15 to place an entry. All mediums of art are welcome. For more info click the following link
Sonar Scan Prospectus

Photos by Chris Bryan and Heather Blackmar
Video by Chris Bryan
Header image design by Jason Lee