Long ago, so long ago that we were still in the 20th century, I had a small hand in the adaptive reuse of a defunct factory and warehouse building located at 208 Flynn Avenue.  It was a wrong side of the tracks, nitty gritty, funky part of town that (spoiler alert) later became known as the South End Arts District of Burlington, VT.   

World’s Tallest Filing Cabinet, Bren Alvarez
Photo by Laurie Shaull

The conversion of factory-to-commercial office space yielded a hefty swath of skylit space that extended over 100 feet long and 13 feet wide. It was sheathed in ancient brick on the west side, with yards of freshly painted clean white drywall on the east. I was awestruck by the magnificence of the space and I wanted to share it with the whole, wide world.  A confluence of serendipitous (and otherwise) events resulted in FLYNNDOG, a space for artists and other angels.  

Its origins and existence were so ethereal that I still regard it as a figment of my imagination.  In retrospect, the FDoG trajectory was quite simple ~ one random vision that this hall should be (and could be) a community space; an intial exhibit in 1999, which was a curatorial disaster (all mine) that was successful despite my efforts; a little bit of media attention;  and then a lot of love and support from the arts community that resulted in 6 to 12 exhibitions every year from ArtHop, 2000 until December, 2021.

At the time, I hadn’t ever aspired to manage an art space and curate exhibitions.  It was actually quite terrifying, but my friend and artist, Jane Horner, laughed and said, “Bren, you’re going to weave this into your life.   It needs to be done.”  The beautiful tapestry that emerged from weaving FDoG into my life is another story for another time, but she was right… it needed to be done.

So why stop now?  No one reason. It’s been a long time in dog years and that, too, is another story for another time (and I’m going to run that by Jane). In the meantime, we would love to weave your own FDoG story into ours. Please feel free to send along your FDoG origin story ~ we will do our best to include it.

Bren Alvarez October, 2021 BTV