Bingo Studios, a pandemic project of artists Lance McGoldrick and Josh Stuyvesant that includes studios, a gallery space, and a fabrication shop, recently opened to fanfare.
ALBUQUERQUE—The 2020 shuttering of Albuquerque’s Factory on 5th, a DIY gallery and performance space that also housed studios for thirty artists, created a big gap in the market for artist studios. The closure left Lance McGoldrick, who’d had his studio there, at loose ends. At about the same time, Josh Stuyvesant was in a similar situation—the space he’d negotiated for his woodworking studio in Wells Park was shutting down.
As the two started looking together for potential new studio spaces in the tumultuous early months of the pandemic, they quickly realized that most of the available buildings were too big for their own personal needs—not to mention the financial constraints. “So we thought, in order to have space for us, we might as well provide space for others,” McGoldrick says.
On January 21, 2023, McGoldrick and Stuyvesant unveiled Bingo Studios to the public during the space’s first open studios night. The pandemic renovation project transformed the old Bingo Supply Co. warehouse at 2112 Second Street in the Barelas neighborhood of Albuquerque into a space that now houses ten artist studios, a gallery with rotating exhibitions, and a central fabrication shop for use by all the residents. The two artists, who are mulling a potential expansion of Bingo Studios’s footprint, plan to run and hold onto the space for the long haul.
McGoldrick, an interdisciplinary artist, and Stuyvesant, a poet and woodworker, had met years before, back when Stuyvesant ran Humbird, a local arts promotion organization that regularly hosted community events. After seeing some of McGoldrick’s installation art, Stuyvesant reached out to McGoldrick for commissioned work ahead of an Earth Day event that Humbird hosted at Civic Plaza in downtown Albuquerque. They recognized in each other a similar work ethic—including “one man’s trash is another man’s treasure” principles—and became fast friends and frequent collaborators.
When the two stumbled upon the old Southwest Bingo Supplies building, which was still stacked to the rafters with 400 tons of bingo cards (no joke), they were hesitant.
“We found this building through a friend, but we were originally looking at a bigger space that would require a bigger financial investment. And we asked, ‘What about this [smaller], drafty, decrepit space that needs a bunch of labor?’”
Between Stuyvesant and McGoldrick, they had the construction skills needed for the renovation as well as the business know-how to get a project like this off the ground. Renovation progress was slow, in part because of a global pandemic that paused just about everything, but also because the two have full-time jobs: Stuyvesant at A Good Sign, a print shop in downtown Albuquerque, and McGoldrick at Meow Wolf in Santa Fe. Thankfully, says Stuyvesant, “I like a good project.”
During the three-year process, the two learned that there was a huge demand for artist studios. “I mean, we [rent out] each studio in two weeks [maximum],” Stuyvesant says. “We have a waiting list that we can call upon, but we still get hit up once a week [by artists looking for studios].”
Not that the studios are a perfect fit for everyone, warns McGoldrick. “I mean, it’s a dusty old warehouse—it’s not something I’m promoting as this fancy spot,” he says. “We’ve had some [artists] come see it, and they’re like, ‘This is too dusty, and there’s no central heat or air.’ But everyone that is there is really excited about it.”
Both McGoldrick and Stuyvesant say that there’s a potential for expanding the space, as there are other buildings on the lot that their landlord says could be leased and renovated in much the same way as the original building. “This was kind of a case study, and it’s worked out okay. We have proof that we can make it work,” McGoldrick says.
They’ve tossed around the idea of one day purchasing a building themselves, too. “In terms of buying a place, we would need an angel investor of some kind to pay the down payment on the mortgage,” Stuyvesant says. “We could finance and pay for the mortgage through the business of renting space. Yeah, it’s definitely forward in our minds.”
On opening night, the work of resident artists adorned the gallery space while the noise of whirring space heaters and mingling guests filled the fabrication shop. Local artists Jess Zeglin, Erin Gould, Kait O’Brien, Joel Davis, and others showed their work and opened their studios to visitors.
For the rest of 2023, Bingo Studios will host shows with work by resident artists, as well as at least one thesis show for the University of New Mexico’s MFA students. O’Brien, a visual artist and poet, is scheduled to open the alluvial grief solo show from 6-9 pm Friday, March 10, while other events for the year are in the works but not pinned down yet—including, as Stuyvesant teases, a potential bingo night.