Photos: Zev Smith-Danford

Earlier this week LoCO passed on some bummer news. All-ages art and music venue Outer Space received notice that the new owners of the building they currently occupy at the corner of M and 11th streets in Arcata have other plans for the space and have asked them to vacate. The decision brings to a (hopefully temporary) end what had been one of Humboldt’s most active and energetic performance venues, host to hundreds of bands from near and far over the last few years. 

(We’ll remind you, again, Outer Space is looking for new space. Details here.)

The Outpost reached out to Zev Smith-Danford, one of Outer Space’s founders. Zev moved to Los Angeles last year but still treasures Outer Space and was happy to share some thoughts on what made the venue special:

Outer Space Arcata was always an experiment. We wanted to create something that was outside the normal model for running a business, a music venue, an art gallery, or a nonprofit space. By keeping the space 100% volunteer run, it allowed us to keep costs relatively low for events and for local organizations to utilize the space for meetings and workshops. We wanted to create a space accessible to anyone who wished to enter its doors. Something truly all ages, a safer space that actively worked to dismantle oppression and bigotry.

Any building can theoretically do this. It is not the building that is special, but the people in it. The people who worked to make something special happen there. 

Before finding the 11th street location, myself and the other co-founder spent almost a year going to available commercial properties. We were often met with critical eyes and at worst, laughed at for trying to create a space for music and art to happen that was not based around making money. Outer Space was able to happen on 11th street because it was the right space for the right time. It was not close to perfect. I hope the perfect space exists and Outer Space members can find a location that will allow this beautiful, idealistic experiment to continue for as long as Humboldt County chooses to support outsider art, queer-led art, People of Color-led art, art made by people of all ages by and for the community.

Zev also sent in some before/during photos that show what Outer Space was able to become in such a short time. We present them below.