The Underworld Art Studio: An Urban Legend


by Cynthia Rodriguez

Greetings Lesbiatopians from the bowels of feminism. The artistic-political firepit of Center City, Allentown Pennsylvania known as THE UNDERWORLD. What is this mysterious, deep, dark place? No, it's not my vagina. It's my art studio.

I thought I'd share my other artistic side with you all, not just the literary, but also the visual artsy-fartsy side, including performance art. Of all my artsy pursuits, the visual arts is my first love. I won't bore you with any "ever since I was a little girl" crap. I'll just get down to the dirty, nitty-gritty which actually, probably describes my creative space the best. You can see more about other aspects of my creative journey on the "Kissed by Venus" website, when I was interviewed by writer Alexandra Wolfe.

Anti-established since 1999 (in the basement under the town's then main art gallery), then in 2002, I got my own independent space, (again in a basement). What can I say? Over the years I became a "basement rat" and learned to work well in very dim light. (I have very good night vision.) This year marks The Underworld's 10 year anniversary. Some people celebrate wedding anniversaries and so on...this is what I celebrate. It's lasted longer than alot of businesses around me, right on the block as a matter a fact. You get to know your area pretty well after being around it for so long. I've seen alot of things go on and go down in the neighborhood. Alot of stories.

Plenty of history in that little den. Over the years, get-togethers, rehearsals, happenings, underground events, paint jams, performances, exhibits. Most people find it fascinating, be it in sometimes a creepy, dungeon kind of way. It's been compared to certain NY hangouts back in the day, East Villagesque, or Lower East Sidish. Originating from New York City, I take that as a compliment. You can take a video tour of my little batcave on youtube under UnderworldArtStudio . I've only posted a couple of studio "Vlogs" so far.

It's my little safe-haven, and I like it to be that for anyone who comes over. The "mission statement" is "providing a home for an alternative way of being". By that I mean for people to just be themselves. To leave any bullshit at the gate, and not be afraid to take that step outside their comfort zone. For me, it's not just an art studio, it's a way of life.

(Okay, this is the part where I'm going to be a total media whore and tell everybody to join The Underworld Art Studio's "fan" page on Facebook. Thanks, see you there.)

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