QUEENS LYCEUM (WOODY & PETE'S HONKY TONK LYCEUM)
FLUSHING, NYC - MAY 2016 to MARCH 2017
Queens Lyceum (Woody and Pete's Honky Tonk Lyceum) was an experimental multi-use space, functioning primarily as an organic coffee shop, art gallery, performance space, and community classroom run by Cody Ann Herrmann for Hydroponic Garden Centers Inc. in Flushing, Queens. Before a conflict with the landlord forced the space to close in March '17, the Lyceum provided a physical home for local artist, holistic, and DIY communities alike. No consistent budget and only one employee resulted in an eclectic mix of free and low cost programing lead by volunteers.
Through community outreach Cody developed the Lyceum into an engaging environment, serving a dynamic crowd of area residents, students, creatives, and commuters. Quarterly community visioning sessions guided programing and priorities within the Lyceum. Participants in each of the 3 workshops were mostly area residents with a stake in the local creative community. Workshop 1 focused on drawing out the similarities and difference between the Lyceum and other near by coffee shops and gathering spaces; Workshop 2 captured the ideal Lyceum experience through story-boarding exercise; In Workshop 3 participants filled out a Business Model Canvas to help determine channels of income to support the Lyceum. All workshops pointed to the intense need to arts spaces in the neighborhood, and a desire for local ownership to remain a top concern in the Lyceum structure.
COLLABORATIVE + MULTIDISCIPLINARY ARTS
To encourage a creative and collaborative space, all guests at the Lyceum, regardless of age or self proclaimed artistic talent, were invited to design their own triangle and adhere it to the tessellation on the coffee bar. A commitment to monthly open mics, drum circles, art jams, informal discussions, and an open call for artists of all mediums provided an outlet for many to share their ideas in a safe and inclusive environment, increasing sense of agency and confidence of Lyceum patrons.
Students from the Lowell School, a coeducational special education day school two blocks away from the Lyceum, were invited to participate in a internship program where they took a leading roll over the space, responsible for hanging works in the gallery, working the counter, and coming up with new media tactics or programing.
"The Lyceum has been a safe space for me and made me want to give more to the community. It helped me as an aspiring artist connect with others and feel more confident about my work. It was a great experience to work some where where you can be free with no judgment and interact with different personalities and partake in events that took place at the Lyceum. Overall It was just good vibes. " - Gabby Q. Lowell School '17