Down-to-earth, funny, and passionate are three good ways to describe business partners Jane Kang-Lawrence and Monica Carrier. The pair ascribe their co-founding of contemporary art venue Peep Space to nothing less than magical happenstance.
They opened in June in downtown Tarrytown, after having crossed paths a few years ago in typical fashion — through their children – and discovering how much they have in common: New York City transplants who teach art, with a longing to open an art space.
“It was serendipitous,” says Carrier of the dream space fantasy of two friends becoming a reality. “We were finally at a point in our lives where our kids were old enough and our careers were a bit more established, so we could give this attention.”
They eyed a space that was on the market, then off the market, then back on again, and they scooped it right up.
Peep Space is on a stretch of Central Avenue currently in transition to hip new shops, taking advantage of spill-over from the trendy Main Street and Broadway business strips.
“There’s such great synergy on our street,” says Kang-Lawrence. “It’s good to have these small businesses near us.”
As ardent advocates of the artist community, part of their mission with Peep Space is to attract more artists to the area by offering more opportunities to showcase their work.
For “Plus One,” the maiden exhibit, each artist invited to the show was asked to invite one more artist. Carrier and Kang-Lawrence are showing their own pieces in the show. They say that, at this time of a global pandemic, highlighting the theme of introductions and connections was important to them.
Carrier and Kang-Lawrence pledge to donate a portion of “Plus One” proceeds to the NAACP’s Legal Defense fund.
They encourage people to feel free to amble in and enjoy the art. Kang-Lawrence says she hopes Peep Space “can be a venue where people see that art is accessible to us.”
And, by the way, what’s with that, uh, name?
“We know it’s a little bit of a provocative word,” acknowledges Carrier, “but as an art space we want to be a little bit provocative. We want people to feel like they want to peek; they want to peep in.”
On the Saturday evening I peeped in, I was struck by the convivial vibe. As one small group was waited patiently outside for their turn to enter (per social distancing), a few kids amused themselves by doodling with crayons on the ample sidewalk fronting the premises, and Kang-Lawrence and Carrier chatted warmly with browsers, many with kids in tow.
“I’m proud of having another cool cultural thing in our community,” said visitor Krista Madsen, who knows the founding duo from around town, as she checked out Peep Space for the first time, adding, “When we’re spending so much time on our computers, it’s especially nice to come out and see something and talk about something.”
92 Central Avenue