Mic DeBellis, B.A.’13; Dana S. Owens, B.A.’13; and Kateryne Lora, B.A.’13

Artistic Chain Reaction

By Carol Olechowski

Co-founders and interns of The Machine

From left, Kateryne Lora; Mic DeBellis; Dana S. Owens; Meghan Mason; UAlbany student Kat Brockschmidt; and interns and 2014 UAlbany graduates Greg Villano, Marlee Mitchell and Brittany Duffy enjoy working with other artists at The Machine. Lora, DeBellis and Owens founded the creative co-op on Lark Street in Albany after graduating in 2013.

Fine arts majors Mic DeBellis, 23; Dana S. Owens, 29; and Kateryne Lora, 22, met in Nathan Meltz’s screen-printing class at UAlbany. Their friendship became a partnership with the June 2013 founding of The Machine: A Creative Co-op in Albany.  

The “Greenwich Village feel of Lark Street and the surrounding Center Square neighborhood” convinced Owens, a freelance graphic designer and illustrator, that “a concept like ours would do well” there. “We capitalize on passersby and on Art on Lark, LarkFEST and other events. We encourage other artists to bring in their supplies and paint with us for our Mid-Month Live Painting events, or at least communicate with us.” 

For graphic designer and DJ DeBellis, Machine activity ranges from “screen printing, custom tailoring and sewing, and music” to “video shooting and editing.” Like everyone else involved, he plans, organizes and promotes “different events, artists, and projects” at the co-op.   

Public events at The Machine include “music, live-art demonstrations, installations and a farmers’ market,” explains DeBellis. “We all work on different projects throughout the studio and invite the public to do the same. It’s a chain reaction of art.” 

According to Lora, the Machine’s “First Friday” series has “cultivated a fan base” for the co-op. “We display new works and invite the public to jam with us, musically and in studio art. I hope The Machine will always be a creative space that inspires us to exit the norm, open our minds to new ideas and exercise our creativity,” adds Lora.