Wednesday, February 24, 2010

The Riverside Infoshop Project

Hi all! This is the introductory post for the Riverside Infoshop Project Blog. We were holding off on starting a blog until we knew what the name of the Infoshop was going to be, but we discovered we can just import our posts to a new blog once we choose a name, and so here we are.

Things have been going great so far and we're making a lot of progress towards opening the space. We have a lot of fundraisers and events coming up so keep your ears pricked for more info on those. For our first post, here's three project briefs that describe the bulk of what the space will be involved in hosting early on. This may grow, some projects may develop that aren't in the briefs, some part of the briefs may be different from what we expected, but the majority of what's laid out here is already coming to fruition in anticipation of the space being opened. So without further adieu.


The Infoshop will house an all ages, volunteer run art gallery and space that is collectively organized to act as an outlet for DIY performance, music, and art. As a drug and alcohol-free safe space, we aim to promote social justice, free of racism, sexism, homophobia, and other forms of oppression. Our goal is to cater to creative expression that is constructive and empowering for the community. The exhibitions and performances we host will be supportive and indicative of this commitment.

Art exhibitions

The space will host national and local artists with a quarterly rotation of exhibitions, and provide public space for artists wishing to showcase their work in a more informal arrangement than an exhibition to hang their work. The space will also take part in Art Walk and host events, exhibitions, performances and more in conjunction with it.

Film screenings

Screenings of documentaries, art films and films permissively licensed or in the public domain will be regular occurrences. The space will also aim to make alliances with local students and professors studying film to showcase the work of those fledgling creators in our own towns and will also draw on the art community or the larger Southern California region and beyond to host screenings of films and film festivals not usually available to the general public.

Live performance

Regular performances from local, regional and national musicians and performance artists will take place at the space from many different genres and communities but with a focus and commitment on DIY and independent cultural endeavor. We also intend to provide an outlet for youth cultural organizers, artists and performers to gain access to a space that is safe and free from drugs and alcohol.

Kid's Programs

To insure the space is reaching the broader community, the space will host consistent children's events to include the very young and their parents and make them feel a part of the space. Events of this nature will include but are not limited to a weekly Story Time, Skits and performances by and for children, film screenings for kids and puppet shows.


The educational portion of the infoshop is dedicated to the creation of educational opportunities for community members of all ages through the creation of a free school and additional educational programs. All such classes and programs will be run horizontally by educated facilitators and will be based on collaborative learning and participatory education, as opposed to the traditional teacher-student relationships. Free school classes, guest speakers and other programs will be completely free of charge, non-compulsory, open to the public and devoted to student enrichment more than grades and certifications. By drawing on the experience and expertise of the community, the space will be engaged in a consistent dialogue with the public regarding what individuals want to teach and what they intend to learn.

Free School

The Free School will be a project run primarily out of the space that features classes for adults and children on a variety of subjects. The classes will all be facilitated and taught by volunteers and members of the community, free of charge to the public and will be non compulsory. All classes will be organized in such a way as to challenge the dynamics of the traditional classroom and teacher-student relationships. This will be done with the intention of inspiring students to become their own educators and harbor a love of learning.

Homework Help

The Space will provide regular events during which children and young adults can come and receive help with their homework or tutoring on subjects they find difficult. This will be accomplished by building alliances and relationships with teachers and college students willing to volunteer with the space. This will be coupled with the Free School to provide consistent classes and tutoring on subjects important to a child's growing intellect.

Guest speakers and lecturers

The Infoshop will engage with National Academic Institutes and Organizations as well as touring authors, artists and intellectuals to provide engaging guest lectures on a variety of subjects.

Public access to open courseware

A Local Area Network housed in the space will broadcast a wifi signal that will allow anyone with a laptop and a wifi connection, or a thumb drive to download the ample Open Courseware material being released by educational institutions as prestigious as MIT, UC Berkeley, Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, Notre Dame, and the Mathematical Institute of Oxford. In addition to this courseware, the network will provide access to Public Domain and permissively licensed cultural works all available for free and legal download.


The Resource Center will a community defined space; it is what the community puts into it. We wish to collect and provide information to our neighborhoods and communities, and hope to extend our efforts to those who share common ideas of equality. We believe sharing a collection of information and often inaccessible resources locally is one of the many ways to inspire change and promote equality globally. To this end we will provide free computer access, a lending library, as well as a space for donated items to be taken by any who want them.

Computer Lab

Through alliances with local computer science students and teachers, the space will start and steadily grow a laboratory of computers which will be available to the public for use free of charge. All computers will be run on open source software in order to support community based software projects and also to avoid any and all legal licensing issues common to commercial software. Educational materials will also be available on local network accessible while in the space through either the lab or through a wifi connection from a personal computer. Classes will also be held in conjunction with the Education Center on the subjects general usage, office software, computer art and 3D modeling, web and computer programming and general maintenance.

Freecycle Center

The space will also house a “Free Store” or what is known in a more modern sense as a Freecycle Center where people can donate certain unwanted items such as clothes, works of art, household items, books, etc. and can likewise take items free of charge.

Lending Library

The space will house books on a number of topics from fiction, non-fiction, gender and ethnic studies, history, philosophy, spirituality, children's literature and comic books. We will strive to offer materials that cover issues which are often neglected in commercial bookstores and even public institutions and will be open to donations of books from the community.

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