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Fathomers is a creative research institute dedicated to producing sites and encounters that challenge us to live and act differently in the world.

We commit to implausible sets of ideas shaped by urgent conditions and proceed with open minds, engaging expansive thinkers to resolve complex problems — in studios and labs, on spacecraft and boats; alone, in conversation, on the public stage — and documenting our experiments along the way. 

We do this because we value discoveries made absent predetermined outcomes, and we believe in the power of the realized dream as a test site and model for visionary change.  

 
 

PROJECTS

Fathomers is keenly interested in long-­term thinking — and what this might mean when applied to creative projects that unfold over not just years but decades, lifetimes or longer.

Our project trajectories may resemble waves more than diagonals, escalating not toward a single exhibition moment but taking shape as a series of possibly infinite dynamic gestures instead.

 

MICHAEL JONES MCKEAN

IN PROGRESS: 2017

PHIL ROSS

IN PROGRESS: 2017

JILL MAGID

IN PROGRESS: 2017

 

PROBLEMS AND PROVOCATIONS: GRAND ARTS 1995-2015

PUBLISHED: 2016

 
 
 

STAFF

TREVOR BYRNE

Research and Production Coordinator
tdb@fathomers.org

ERIC DOBBINS

Director of Operations and Production
ecd@fathomers.org

Annie Fischer

Director of Research and Communication
amf@fathomers.org

Stacy Switzer

Curator and Executive Director
sms@fathomers.org

lacey wozny

Director of Programs and Experience
lrw@fathomers.org

BOARD OF DIRECTORS

GLENN KAINO

Artist

MARGARET SILVA

Co-Founder and Executive Director, Grand Arts (1995-2015)

ANDREW TORRANCE

Earl B. Shurtz Professor of Law, University of Kansas
Visiting Scholar, MIT Sloan School of Management

 
 

HISTORY

Fathomers was born from Grand Arts, a project space in Kansas City, Mo., that quietly but radically tested the limits of institutional and artistic support for two decades. In helping more than 120 national and international artists realize projects considered too difficult, provocative or complex to attract funding and support otherwise, the gallery achieved insider fame and deep-seated respect as a bastion of generosity and risk.

In 2015, Grand Arts closed its doors for good, but not before convening fifty artists, writers and scholars for a weekend of conversations that critically and casually explored practice, support and terms of engagement — discussions based in part on the essays commissioned for Problems and Provocations: Grand Arts 1995-2015. Intrigued by the possibilities of these texts and the debates they inspired, a handful of associates finally began considering GA 2.0. 

That transition, that chance to be moved, ultimately took shape as Fathomers: the learning institution repurposed as a think tank, committed to co-conspiring in unscripted, unexpected, and slightly uncomfortable ways — and wholly motivated by the creative will to embrace adventure, nurture attachments and move on.   

We were moved, and we moved on. Then we moved to California. 

We brought with us the spirit and legacy of Grand Arts. 

 
 

NEWs

 

@fathomers