Realizing the lack of affordable working spaces for designers and associations in Paris, an Artist collective, Curry Vavart, decided to take on the problem themselves by providing answers to support art and community initiatives. The idea is to create friendly and open spaces conducive to the exchanges of ideas.
The collective was formed in 2004 in the Glass Theatre , an artist squat, run by the Co-Arter Association and located in the 10th district of Paris, in a former storage space of SERNAM. The Collective consists of visual artists, dancers, actors, musicians, circus artists, photographers, videographers, urban planners, students, cooks, mechanics, laborers, electricians, furniture makers, artisans, computer scientists, lawyers, and activists who are actively involved in the daily management of the space, workshops and art programming. The collective has 60 active members and a network of 4,300 volunteers.
In 2006, the Collective Curry Vavart was legalized to open and manage their own space. The first temporary squatting experience was in a huge abandoned storage building (6,000 m2). A collective agreement with the owner allowed them to stay there for four months. The first experience inspired the collective to continue through this medium.
In the beginning of 2008, the Curry Vavart moved to the 20th district of Paris in a former industrial building of 600m2 which was abandoned for 10 years. After 2 trials, they were granted a stay of ten months to complete their project, the Boeuf3, which hosted artists, working & rehearsal spaces, workshops and events.
In early 2010, in anticipation to the closure of Boeuf3, Curry Vavart tool on another abandoned metal factory in Paris’s 11th district. This new space was called Le Gros Belec and it included dance, theatre, music and rehearsal spaces, a performance stage, a community garden, an exhibition space, and shared workshops. Events ranged from puppet shows to cabarets housing up to 600 attendees. In 2011 they transformed a cloakroom and training center in the 18th district into The Shakirail . The collective was then offered by the Mayor of the 20th district to set up on the ground floor of a furniture factory on the way to becoming a shelter for disabled, medicalized, and ageing people.
Their continued temporary occupations binds Curry Vavart to the private or public owners within a legal framework. However, projects are always initiated by squatting first in industrial spaces which have been unused for several years in the 10th, 20th, and 11th districts of Paris. They focus on creating rehearsal, work and living spaces as ways of gathering knowledge. This happens through low rents and opportunities for cooperations and collaborations at weekly meetings. The collective also organizes art events hosted at different locations and assists in the development of young performance artist and technical productions. Their goal is to revive neighborhood life through creation of user-friendly open spaces on the street for discussion and relaxation.
You can check out their videos here.