Featured photo: Etc. opened to the public on April 25 with an open-air market in the yard behind their brick building which formerly housed On Pop of the World. (photo by Jak Kerley)
The sweet smell of marinated pork from the Bulgarian Taco pop-up filled the air. Medium-sized dogs, connected to their owners by close leashes, wagged tails in excitement as their humans shopped for handcrafted goods from local businesses. Nearby, Peter Daye, who owns and operates Cut the Music Prints, set up his mobile T-shirt printing press to create custom shirts for patrons. On Sunday, Etc., Greensboro’s new do-it-yourself collective, introduced itself to the community with its inaugural market.
Located in the historic Glenwood neighborhood, Etc. occupies the former space of the now-defunct On Pop of the World Studios. Etc.’s Instagram page says it “represents a love for DIY, music, creative workshops, pop-up flea markets, wellness, and more.” It was founded by six individuals — Jak Kerley, Michael Nardone, Matt Gashow, Briana Strickland, Yanni Xoinis and Ben Braxton — who share a background in some form of artmaking. They pride themselves on their nonconformist “do-it-yourself” attitude, which helped them transform the building into their unique space.
“We all have that same punk ethos where we all probably slept at someone’s house and they had a nice bookshelf and [we] made it a workshop or a space,” Nardone says.
The collective’s inaugural market was held behind the building, the backyard enclosed by a wooden fence covered in faded, spray-painted words and figures, remnants of the music studio that was once there. More than 10 vendors sold jewelry, candles paintings and more. The white bus that is home to Boomerang Bookshop, a Greensboro-based mobile bookstore, sat furthest from the entrance to the yard, opening its doors towards the guests. Inside the bus was a library of texts featuring topics like philosophy, religion and human sexuality.
According to Kerley, the use of the space inside the freshly painted brick-red building on the corner of Grove Street will be controlled by its visitors, not Etc.’s creators.
“We’re gonna let the space become what it needs to become to fulfill the needs of the community around us,” he says.
As far as its interior decoration, the crew is drawing inspiration from places they’ve visited around the world. Xoinis’ decorative eye is influenced by the DIY spaces he visited in his home country of Greece. Strickland says Dial House in Essex, England, founded by writer Penny Rimbaud, and Crack Cloud, a Vancouver-based multimedia collective, are her biggest inspirations. Kerley’s background in filmmaking and photography has taken him to collectives in Europe, New Zealand and Australia.
“What we’re essentially doing is taking our idea and applying it to that thread that is similar to all these other places, but with our influences,” Kerley says.
Although the preparation of the building’s interior is still in the works, the exterior is beautified by Ralph’s Plant Shop, a fenced area that is an extension of Soverio’s Tri-County Garden Center in High Point.
“Slowly but surely we’re working on improving Etc. more on the outside firstly,” Braxton says.
In it, shoppers can find garden decor, house plants and even pet food. The greenery placed in the middle of the shop appears bright and healthy, some plants extending far enough to brush the legs of passersby. The shop is just one addition to Etc. that emphasizes its versatility as a collective.
“The one thing we all knew when we were coming up with the concept of this place is that it wasn’t gonna be just one thing,” Kerley says. “We knew we were gonna have a plant shop, live events and flea markets.”
To Strickland, who sees herself as an artist, healer and activist, Etc. is not just an art space; it’s a refuge. She says the group hopes the space will “empower people to feel a sense of community and belong in real, authentic ways.”
Basically, Etc. is a space for any and everything, as shown by its name.
“We really wanted to embrace being a unique space for all kinds of art, whether that’s a printmaking shop, zines, film, music, dance parties or a yoga class and anything else,” Strickland says. “Let’s create something together.”
Learn more about Etc. by following them on Instagram @etc.gso.