Welcome to the Zeiser Room!
Hi, I'm Preston, your man on the ground/idea soundboarder/creative comfort coach/fairy-light keeper at XCHC.
About a year ago, our bar manager Brie Sherow shared a vision with me. Imagine when traveling, you could stay somewhere that connected you with the locals, arts/creative scene, and the money you spent on your accommodation would be re-invested into that creative community, making more exciting things happen.
At the same time, an artist & filmmaker visiting from Germany shared with me how hard it was for artists to take their work to new cities, in her case, a short-film called ILLUSIA on a world tour with the hopes of getting interest and support to then make a full-length film. The cost of accommodation was unrealistic so she surfed couches, and when that wasn't an option, she pitched a tent.
Something wasn't adding up.
We have tourists looking for experiences, prepared to look/pay for them and accommodation, and we have emerging artists looking for cheap accommodation, sometimes with only their creativity and experiences to give...
A MATCH MADE IN HEAVEN
We had a loft apartment above the venue that had always been used as a boardroom (pictured left) and the bedroom was hired office space (we don't even have a picture...)
but that was about to change.
We found out the average price people paid for short-term accommodation was twice what we needed to cover our costs. So it was simple, for every night booked, we could afford to support an emerging artist to host an event or stay a night. We don't have it down to a science yet, but a buy-1-give-1 model feels possible here.
JUST DO IT
give it a name
The first artist to exhibit at XCHC in 2017 was Eugenia Zeiser. She was exhibiting the work she made from her 1 year in NZ. She sold all but 3 pieces which she generously donated to XCHC; the 2 pictured above in the living room, and Science hanging in the bedroom (pictured below). We decided to hang these in the loft and name the room after her as a way of saying thank you.
Her work is now accompanied by the work of other artists who have stayed such as cardboard artist Kiel Johnson (Los Angeles, USA), photo-journalist Ramona Gastle (Augsburg, Germany), sign-writer Vanessa Powers (Dublin, Ireland), artist/activist Larry Bogad (Berkley, USA), and multi-disciplinary creative Rebecca Hill (Chicago, USA)
THE WIN WIN WIN
Since kicking off last year, these artists have hosted workshops, donated work, or have contributed in some way to the XCHC community; even leaving things for following guests to enjoy.
The XCHC: To sustain supporting artists & creatives to develop and share their work; positively influencing our community.
The Artist: To travel to and connect with the local creative community without a financial burden or the need to find funding.
The Traveller/Tourist: The feel-good of knowing their money is going into the community; supporting creative activities & residencies, connecting with locals, and in return soaking in the vibes and experiences of something a little different; staying above a funky cafe and arts space.
What do you like when you travel? Could we do it better? Bigger? Are we off to a good start?
We hope so.
For this to keep working, we need your support.
1. If your know anyone traveling to Christchurch that needs accommodation, send them to our Airbnb
2. If you know any arts/creative organizations that have members traveling to Christchurch, OR any artists that want to visit New Zealand, send them to our website.
3. If you want to contribute directly, we have an Emerging Artist Fund
For this to improve, we need your feedback. This is our first try at this, and we've got a lot of feedback in our first year, but there's always room for improvement.
As Airbnb continues to have some negative effects on cities, we hope to move to our more sustainable platform like Fairbnb. We've been in contact with the team in Amsterdam and we are happy to be the first collaborators in New Zealand.
We also don't see why, if this works with 1 apartment, why can't we do it with 10? Or 20? 50? Could this start solving other problems like homelessness, women's refuge, housing for marginalized youth?
...ok yeah, that's another story.
Thanks for reading