Matthew Mazzotta’s Open House — Art on a Civic Scale

Matthew Mazzotta, Open House, 2013.

Matthew Mazzotta’s project Open House illustrates the transformative power of collaborations between artists and communities in reclaiming neglected urban spaces and converting them into creative public goods.

In 2011, the Coleman Center for the Arts invited artist and MIT alumnus Matthew Mazzotta to create a public art project in York, Alabama. Working with the local community, Mazzotta addressed the lack of public spaces in the city, a major concern among its residents. Together they built a foldable open-air theater that seats one hundred people. Since its inauguration, the theater has housed movies, concerts, and various community projects—all free and open to the public—providing a common ground for community dialogue and activities.

Open House is shaped like a typical house, but it physically unfolds into an open-air theater when its walls and roof are folded down. The structure is set on the land of an abandoned home and built from recycled materials. Honoring the past, and welcoming an optimistic future, Mazzotta’s Open House transforms a seemingly private space into public one, embracing celebration and the cooperative power of community.

Open House Video by Matthew Mazzotta on Vimeo.

The project was featured online by CNN and Huffington Post, as well as Make, Dwell, and Dezeen magazines. A full press release and additional information about the project can be found on the Coleman Center for the Arts website. Open House was funded in part by the National Endowment for the Arts, the Visual Artists Network, and approximately one hundred individual donations.

Matthew Mazzotta was recently awarded one of the three 2013 Individual Artists Awards by The Santo Foundation. He graduated from MIT in 2009 with a Masters of Science in Visual Studies from the Visual Arts Program, the precursor of the Program in Art, Culture and Technology. Among Mazzotta’s noteworthy projects are Looking for a Landscape, which was part of a recent exhibit at the Boston Society of Architects; Pier Shear in Rijeka, Croatia; and The Park Spark Project that transformed dog waste into energy. More information about his work can be found at