Art ekotopia-architecture-10-2012_090_2 copy

Ektopia Moves to New York, Makes Way for New Film Co-op

There are something like 658 galleries in New York City, according to the app NY Art Beat. Add Ektopia to that list when owner and director Allan Jim moves the Kaimuki art space to Tribeca next year.

Ektopia—a reference to the greek word “ektopos”, meaning “out of place”—will end in Kaimuki as soon as Jim can finalize the lease arrangements, but he says he could only leave in good conscience knowing two things: that there would be a location in New York waiting for him, and that his former space in Kaimuki would still be used to create art.

“I had lived in New York for about half my life and have found, more and more, that I do miss it, particularly the cultural aspects of it,” he says. “[But] it’s still my goal to, somehow in my process, continue the momentum in the growth of [Kaimuki] to the best of my ability.”

Located on Waialae Avenue near Chaminade University and renovated from a restaurant into a gallery only one year ago by Jim and architect John Garland, Ektopia opened in September, 2012, with Sergio Garzon’s Woodcuts. (Laura Smith’s Big Splash was the final show.)

Garland, who knew Jim was leaving and that his friend Tom Schneider was looking for a place to expand his film production company, MindShift Films, thought the two should meet. “It was really amazing that we got together like that because it’s so hard to find space in Honolulu that’s affordable and in good shape,” Schneider says.

Schneider plans to build a multi-use film venue and cooperative space there. “I know a lot of people in the community here who have projects who want to make films, but they never come together. I think what’s missing is a place to meet, connect, to get different interests together, and start awesome projects,” he says. “I’ve seen that done in other cities, in Los Angeles and New York, indie filmmakers getting together and working on projects. I want to start that here.”

Schneider envisions a program where all members have a say in what direction to take. The basic elements would be a workspace for MindShift Films, as well as an equipment-sharing program, a multi-use space for screenings that would also be available for rent to the general public, and space given to a nonprofit film group to use.

“I am going to be around to help them with the transition period,” Jim says. “I would like to help build the connection between the arts community and this film group starting up. I hope to help them both grow. [...] By helping another group use the space, [this might] create more opportunities for artwork or creative work [here].”

While the Schneider project has no name yet, Ektopia will keep its name in New York because, “you can be out of place anywhere you want to be,” Jim says. “It’s not such a difficult thing. I feel that if I can continue with that, in a way, it’s part of my own identity. Understanding my relationship with the world helps me find my own place, even if it is one that is not in the center or right on the bull’s eye. To enjoy it. [...] I can’t really say what will happen, except that I do have connections and roots here. In the future, it may be that I can bring a more developed experience back to Honolulu. I can’t really predict the future, just as a year ago, I couldn’t have predicted that I would have come to this resolution myself.”


Photo of Ektopia by Brian Kossen, courtesy Allan Jim.

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