Two brothers, Thomas Haag and Forrest Haag, and lifelong friend Naython Vane fired up Stove for the first time on April 20, 2007.
In the past year, their East Nob Hill performance space and fine art gallery has cooked up a jumble of live music, art exhibitions and other forms of entertainment. The trio see Stove’s one-year anniversary as a celebration of hard work and DIY antics. “We haven’t been smoothed out and gentrified yet, although we can just about smell Starbucks from here,” says Thomas, laughing.
When Stove first opened, its focus was becoming a fine art gallery. A wooden stage came later, and with it an abundance of musicians looking to perform. “Right now music dominates the venue, but we would like to be more collective than that,” says Thomas. It's a mystery to Stove owners why the venue grew into a home for all-ages shows, but they're not complaining. “Since we’ve been in Albuquerque over the last year, we’ve seen quite a few all-age venues go out of business. ... We don’t resent the fact that Stove is looked at as more of a music venue than an art gallery at all."
What weirds them out is how few pedestrians venture past the corner of Carlisle and Central into the upper Nob Hill area. “Walkers don’t usually venture past Carlisle, which is sad because there are still a lot of great businesses located in this area,” says Naython. He speculates that people are timid to walk east of the 7-Eleven because it seems less safe than the rest of Nob Hill. But Stove has plans to put an end to that unspoken fear. “We really want to focus on the whole upper Nob Hill community,” Naython says. “One of our biggest things for this next year is to bring upper Nob Hill businesses together and attempt to show Albuquerque that it’s safe to walk past Carlisle.”
“We haven’t been smoothed out and gentrified yet, although we can just about smell Starbucks from here.”
Stove will shut its doors the week prior to its one-year anniversary for some touching up on the inside. “Our biggest order of business with remodeling is enlarging the stage for performers,” says Naython. The walls are white and overflowing with canvases made of glass, wood and parchment. Before Stove opened, the space was split into two separate businesses. Now pillars hanging portraits of bright characters strewn with chicken wire and other reused materials bridge the two spaces. “We’re mainly working on the main performance space," Naython says. A new feature will be a door that opens directly onto the stage from the wings.
Stove's first anniversary reception will include the month-long exhibition titled Paper, which showcases artworks made from parchment. (Consult the Alibi Arts Calendar for a listing of the featured artists.) “We’ll be hanging a few new art pieces alongside this past month's art and host music performances, but more than anything, this is a celebration,” says Thomas. Local bands performing are Yoda’s House, Eva Ave., Salad the Czar and a few other surprises. Closing out the night is Seattle-based rapper Tulsi, who performed last year at Stove’s grand opening.
Over the next year of business, Stove plans to balance out its all-ages shows with more art-influenced productions. “We definitely want to sell more artwork and get more recognition as a fine art gallery,” says Thomas. Stove's goal is to create an open art collective and a place for Albuquerque artists to network, create and collaborate with other artists. Its staff has made a point of opening Stove's arms to artists of all media and styles. “This is a place where like-minded creativity of all sorts can come and build," Thomas says. And it doesn't end there. "Ultimately, our vision is to get Stove up and running itself and then go to another city and do the same thing.”