Culturunners follows Matthew Mazzotta, an artist who travels around the world, to work with local communities, in the process of making Matthew was invited to Lyons, Nebraska to work on a site-specific artwork in collaboration with local people. The result was a 100-seat theater, which flips down from an unassuming abandoned freestanding storefront in the small town. Since the venue was installed, it has hosted events including movie screenings, video-game nights and music concerts, all programed by the local community.
“What happened in Lyons, Nebraska has happened to communities throughout the world.” Mazzotta says, “Small Town Main Street has suffered as goods, services, entertainment—and the jobs that go with them—move away. The mom-and-pop shops that once made up downtowns are being undercut by international discount retailers and faceless online platforms. Buildings that once housed bowling alleys, barber shops, bars, movie theaters, and restaurants also can no longer compete and have closed their doors. As a result, the social bonds and everyday experiences that these spaces once provided, have virtually disappeared.”
Matthew Mazzotta works at the intersection of art, activism, and urbanism, focusing on the power of the built environment to shape our relationships and experiences. His community-specific public projects integrate new forms of civic participation and social engagement into the built environment and reveal how the spaces we travel through and spend our time living within have the potential to become distinct sites for intimate, radical, and meaningful exchanges.View profile