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Late Winter Wellness – A Message from SPACE and Recommendations for our Audiences

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March 11, 2020
Kelsey Halliday Johnson, Executive Director

The safety and well-being of our staff, artists, volunteers, and visitors are always our highest priority. Our current community-programmed installation project, Light Room: Practice, is intended to create a space for artistic, personal, and healing practices. With full-spectrum lights, a humidified plant room, and an immersive audio/visual lounge called Dark Room, the project encourages us to get embodied and let chance encounters spark new sources of creativity. 

Nationally, there hasn’t been as much space to celebrate our bodies and being together, as we hear of quarantine zones and event cancellations. SPACE is not only following best practices recommended during the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) but is committed to being responsive, following the recommendations of the US Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and Maine State’s Division of Disease Surveillance. We hope the below helps you make informed personal decisions for yourself, your friends, your family, and your nightlife.

What SPACE is Doing

We want to share the proactive steps we are taking:

  1. We have implemented extra precautionary measures to disinfect our spaces throughout the day and after events. Hand sanitizer is available as you enter and exit our building.
  2. Public areas (including the Light Room) are already cleaned daily, but we are increasing the frequency cleaning of high-touch areas such as doorknobs and touch screen credit card readers.
  3. We have suspended the use of reusable glasses with our concessions offerings and are temporarily only using biodegradable cups.
  4. While we always encourage audience members to clean up after themselves, we especially ask you to ensure you do not leave beverage or food waste around our facility so our staff does not have to come into contact with audience members saliva- all waste should go directly in the trash, recycle, or compost bin.
  5. We believe in accrued Paid Sick Time for all employees, and even our hourly event staff employees are offered it. All SPACE’s staff and volunteers have been enthusiastically encouraged to stay at home if they are ill.
  6. March 12th Update: SPACE is capping our ticket sales/attendance at events at 150 people through March 30th. We will be continuously reevaluating this decision. Today, Governor Janet Mills and the State of Maine recommended a safe event attendance ceiling be 250. As a venue that can hold 300, we feel cutting our occupancy in half (in addition to new sanitation standards and most importantly, your cooperation) is a responsible middle-ground.

Some Healthy Distractions for Minds and Bodies

  1. Good reads for hard days: Consider picking up Rebecca Solnit’s incredible book A Paradise Built in Hell: The Extraordinary Communities that Arise in Disaster, or one of her great op-eds about the subject of hope in difficult times. Additionally: adrienne maree brown’s Pleasure Activism is #1 if you need to carve out more time for the good stuff in your life.
  2. Buy some houseplants to improve your mood and mental center (especially if you end up quarantined) from SPACE friend and collaborator Plant Office.
  3. Keep supporting local businesses. Plus, we all know we live in one of the foodie capitals of America- and there’s great comfort food abound.
  4. Meditate and be mindful, this is a moment of high anxiety. We’ll have some meditation sessions during Light Room, but there are great local groups or a range of different meditation apps for all styles.
  5. Make an erasure poem out of stressful articles in the newspaper. It’s cathartic, trust us.
  6. As Laraaji reminded us this past fall, LAUGH. Whether it’s laughter meditation, the latest stand-up comedian you love, or a phone call with an old friend. Laughter is good for stress, breathing, the thyroid, and the body.
  7. Feeling stir crazy and need a creative task to keep your hands busy? Send us mail art! We’ll share it with the world via our social channels. SPACE 538 Congress Street Portland, ME 04101. Whoever you are, admirer in Bloomington, IL, thank you for making our week. (P.s. we also recently plugged in the old tape deck, mixtapes welcome).

What You Can Do More Practically

Although we would love to see you at SPACE, if you are sick or feeling unwell, we urge you to stay home and avoid close contact with others, as recommended by the CDC.

Other recommendations from public health authorities:

  • Wash your hands. Do so often. Use soap and water for at least 20 seconds (sing your favorite song, imagine something gross and clean your hands as if that had just happened, watch/read a long meme while washing…. and then disinfect your phone screen.).
  • If the opportunity for hand washing is not available, use hand sanitizers! We’ll have dispensers at the door, right after you’ve touched a doorknob or cash in your wallet.
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose, or mouth. (We know, it’s hard.)
  • Avoid close contact with people who are sick.
  • Cover your coughs and sneezes (not with your hands). Hold a tissue over your mouth and nose or do so into your elbow.
  • No handshakes or hugs, please (and respect our staff if they abstain). A wave, elbow bump, or improvisational dance-greeting is certainly acceptable for greeting others.

What Maine is Recommending

For now, it’s a slowly evolving situation in our state. Check out the news on the Maine State health news website here or subscribe to their email list.

What SPACE Events have been Canceled or Postponed:

None yet! (3/13 Update: Postponed events will be announced here.) If you hear of artists canceling tours or having to change dates, we will keep you posted and hope you’ll consider buying their merch, their records, and supporting them in other ways. These coming months are going to be hard on artists who don’t have guaranteed income and depend on these events for their livelihood.

We also hope that if you love SPACE you’ll become a member at www.space538.org/support which can help us get through these trying months to support our staff, our community, and keep SPACE’s momentum so we can bounce back from this.

We are monitoring the evolving situation closely and will announce any further program or operational changes through our regular channels, including our website (any immediate cancellation will be on the black ticker bar on the bottom of our home page) and social media. Thank you for your understanding and support!


SPACE is pleased to announce an OPEN CALL for our new remote multi-disciplinary exhibition, Broadcasts: Art in the Age of Social Distancing. We invite artists of all kinds to submit work they are making, performing, and practicing in isolation. Learn more here.