In the sleepy and laid-back town of Siem Reap, there is a thriving artist community where travelers and local Cambodians alike often cross paths. At the heart of this is a multi-functional artist space called The 1961, which has served as a venue for all kinds of artist events and happenings in Siem Reap. The 1961 founder, Loven Ramos, previously owned a couple of smaller galleries in the middle of town, but after a number of years, he found the costs really prohibitive and wanted a new space that was bigger and could expand with his ideas as well as the needs of the community.
暹粒是一个平静而悠闲小镇，在这里，有一个蓬勃发展的艺术家社区，吸引着众多游客和柬埔寨人。而位于这一社区中心的是一个被称为The 1961的多功能艺术家空间，这里是暹粒各类艺术活动的举办地。The 1961创始人 Loven Ramos以前曾经营过几家位于市中心的小画廊，但几年后，发现运营成本实在太高，于是想找一个更大的空间，让他可能进一步实现自己的想法，满足艺术社区的发展需求。
The 1961 is a hybrid coworking space, art gallery, and events venue. The main hub can seat forty people at communal work tables or dedicated work stations; it’s a creative environment where freelancers, local artists, and traveling professionals are free to collaborate. The facilities include high-speed internet, a shared printer, a lounge, meeting rooms, a small marketplace for artists’ products, a mini-kitchen, and free coffee. In its previous incarnations, it was even a hotel and a café but has since metamorphosed into its current function as a multi-use space for artists.
The 1961 既是共享办公空间，也是艺术画廊和活动场地。这里的共享工作区和专用的工作站可以容纳40人。在这个充满创意精神的环境下，自由职业者、当地艺术家和旅游专业人士可以自由地协作。空间内的设施包括高速互联网，共享打印机，一间休息室，会议室，一个供艺术家出售作品的小市集，一个小厨房和免费咖啡。空间前身是酒店和咖啡厅，但后来演变成了现在这个为艺术家而设计的多用途空间。
The building itself is a 1960s heritage structure, and the design of everything is very much inspired by the ’60s, hence the name The 1961. Over the years, the design of the space has undergone some changes based on how it was used. “There is always something happening here,” Ramos says, “I think what makes it exciting is it’s never really planned out too much. We have DJs who just basically come in through the door and tell us, ‘I really love this space. We need to create something together.’ So then we put up an event on Facebook, and within 24 hours, we invite whoever we can, or whoever we wanted to come.”
Event spaces include a multimedia pod and a gallery with curated work by both local Cambodian and international artists. The spaces are multi-purpose and can host community meet-ups, lectures, business conferences, or even brainstorming sessions. Outside, there is a small garden area, while at the back of their artists’ shop, behind an otherwise nondescript golden door, is The 1961’s new restaurant, which also hosts local DJs and artist performances.
For Ramos, he primarily wanted to open the gallery for local Cambodian artists at the beginning but admits that the presence of foreign artists provided “a window for local artists to see what is happening outside of Cambodia.” These days, the gallery exhibits the work of Cambodian artists 60% of the time, while the other 40% features the work of artists who are either expats or are completely foreign to Cambodia. “Our role is really to provide that platform to bridge the East and West,” says Ramos, “to bridge Cambodia into the rest of the world, and also the rest of the world into Cambodia.”
The 1961 Coworking and Art Space
211 Osaphear Street, Upper West River Side
Siem Reap, Cambodia
Contributor, Videographer & Photographer: Leon Yan