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Harrisburg woman creates "MakeSpace" for artists - abc27 WHTM

Dauphin County

Harrisburg woman creates "MakeSpace" for artists

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HARRISBURG, Pa. (WHTM) -

A town home that looks much like the others sits on a residential stretch of North 3rd Street in Midtown but a front porch with chipping paint gives way to a space where artists can create.

Among the distress of a city riddled with debt and violence, Harrisburg resident and director of The MakeSpace Liz Laribee hopes to make a difference with art. 

"It's a stereotype of artists [that] you have this creativity that is sort of born out of distress or a lack of resources and that's sort of a great breading ground for creativity," Laribee said. "If you don't have what you need, you find a way to get that."

What Laribee needed was a studio for her cardboard art -- and she wasn't alone.

Artist and student Leah Yancoskie said she used to work out of her bedroom.

"Any artists will tell you is not an ideal situation, because I tend to get really messy with the thing I do. I get little pieces of paper everywhere," Yancoskie said.

But working out of their homes is something a lot of artists have to start out doing, Laribee said.

"A lot of people who are starting out don't have access to a lot of resources, including the funding for an actual, bonafide studio," she said. 

It took Laribee only three weeks to fill her seven open studio spaces. Now she has a waiting list.

The current artists at the MakeSpace each pay $85 a month and split the cost of utilities. The group renovated the row home themselves, decorating some walls with found poetry and leaving others bare and raw.

Laribee says she hopes to make a real difference in Harrisburg.

"I love this city and I really want to see this city flourish and for it to have meaning for the people that are here and for the people that are trying to make it work here," she said.

Laribee said their neighbors are wonderful and have even come over to lend a hand in fixing up The MakeSpace.

She believes art is one of the best ways to develop community.

"There are so many barriers that can be broken down if people are engaging the people in front of them and trying to draw out the creativity that's innate in each human being."

The MakeSpace is also used for art shows, concerts and classes. On Sunday they will host two Pennsylvanian bands in a BYOB concert for all ages. The music starts at 8 p.m. and a $5 donation is suggested. For more details, click here: http://hbgmakespace.com/events/

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