Performance Space 122

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Coordinates: 40°43′42″N 73°59′04″W / 40.728285°N 73.984581°W / 40.728285; -73.984581

Performance Space 122
P.S. 122
P.S. 122.jpg
Performance Space 122 (P.S. 122) is housed in an old public elementary school in the East Village neighborhood of Manhattan
Address 150 First Avenue
Location New York City
Opened 1979 (as performance space)
Website www.ps122.org

Performance Space 122, generally known as P.S. 122, is a not-for-profit arts organization and one of the longest standing venues dedicated to contemporary performance art in New York City. Founded in 1979 in the abandoned Public School 122 building at 150 First Avenue at East 9th Street in the East Village neighborhood of Manhattan, P.S. 122 has hosted thousands of world-premier and ongoing works by such artists as Eric Bogosian, Spalding Gray, Karen Finley, Eddie Izzard, John Leguizamo, and Ron Athey, companies such as Big Art Group, Julie Atlas Muz, Proto-type Theater, Young Jean Lee's Theater Company and New York City Players as well as countless other emerging artists.

The former elementary school was abandoned and in disrepair when a group of visual artists began to use the old classrooms for studios. In 1979, choreographer Charles Moulton began holding rehearsals and workshops in the second floor cafeteria, and invited fellow performers Charles Dennis, Tim Miller and Peter Rose to collaborate in the administration and use of the space.

P.S. 122 began its presentation history in 1980 with the first "Avant-Garde-Arama", a multidisciplinary showcase, and published its first complete calendar of performances, classes and workshops. The first full-length public play or performance presented in P.S. 122, in October 1980, was a play by Robin Epstein[1] and Dorothy Cantwell's experimental women's theater company, More Fire! Productions.

Mark Russell was hired as artistic director in 1983 to curate and focus the overall programming, expanding it from a rental house into a year round presenting facility. P.S. 122 doubled its programming in 1986 when it converted the old gym on the first floor into a performance space to be used for extended runs of small theatre groups and as a site for community meetings. Russell departed in 2004; a new artistic director, Vallejo Gantner, began in the position with the 2005-2006 season and remains in the post.[2][3]

In 2005, P.S. 122 was among 406 New York City arts and social service institutions to receive part of a $20 million grant from the Carnegie Corporation, which was made possible through a donation by New York City mayor Michael Bloomberg. [1] [2]

P.S. 122 now boasts two theatres, and presents dance, performance art, music and film and video. It has a professional technical and administrative staff, a national touring program, an active commission program and low-cost rehearsal space. Its first floor space, the former school gym, is a small 69-seat black box approximately 30' wide by 22' deep with a 10'10" lighting grid height; its second floor space (the former school cafeteria) is a larger 128-seat black box, 50' wide by 32' deep with a 12' lighting grid height.

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