Magnolia Loft bids farewell to Jamaica Plain with final show, cassette comp



Studio 52 is a community artist space located in the heart of Allston, and is proud to support the Boston music scene and local artist community.

Though it depends on quite a few variables, it can take several years for Magnolias to reach blooming age. Magnolia Loft, the arts performance space independently run in Jamaica Plain, unfortunately won’t be afforded such a luxury, as after just a little more than three years of operation, will soon be forced to shutter as the building space makes way for more condos.

The building’s tenants, including Audrey Harrer, who has coordinated and curated performances at Magnolia Loft since January 2015, will be forced to vacate by the end of next week, but not before throwing one last party this Saturday (February 24). And soundtracking the send-off is a 50-song playlist Harrer has compiled, dubbed the Magnolia Songs Mixtape, to showcase the talents that have performed at her DIY space over the past 37 months. The online mix will also be available as a physical product, as 50 cassettes with a 90-minute runtime will be made in time for the finale.


“Inviting people into a personal studio has a much different vibe than a traditional venue — we become included in each other’s artistic practices,” Harrer tells Vanyaland. “Performers are given more permission to try things out, experiment, and improvise — and attendees are excited to be a part of that. It’s more about experiencing part of a process together, and that’s very inspiring to everyone involved. It’s a rare type of informal space that exists somewhere between practicing alone and playing The Sinclair.”

Included in the online version of the playlist are tracks from Sidney Gish, Kingsley Flood, Magen Tracy And The Missed Connections, Anjimile, Guillermo Sexo, and more. Preview it below.

“The main thread in the Magnolia Songs Mixtape is that all of these artists shared their work in the loft,” Harrer adds. “It is genre-agnostic, and there are some very stunning productions and arrangements, but there are also snippets of live recordings, songs-in-progress, and spoken word experiments. I wanted it to be elastic and inclusive, and in doing so it sorted itself into a type of documentary. Experimental pop, bedroom folk, modern concert music, jazz, electronic, and indie rock all come together to create a snapshot of the community.”

As for Saturday’s event, the night will feature a performance by Harrer, an experimental pop harpist, vocalist, and composer who we’ve featured in the past, as well as the chamber ensemble Hub New Music (performing “Soul House” by Robert Honstein), who have been using the loft as a rehearsal space for the past year. Local writer and humorist Jeannie Greeley opens the night with a piece specifically written for the occasion. “Then the floor will be opened for people to perform micro-sets,” Harrer says, “and we’ll close things out with everyone making noise in a big group improv.”

That last bit speaks to the space’s vitality, and that it’s coming to an end reflects a wide-spread crisis in Boston and other cities regarding all-inclusive arts spaces.

“I’d love to see more artists in Boston have access to a space where they can work and share, even if it means rethinking how that could be done,” Harrer says. “Maybe it is about partnering artists and local business, incentivizing filling vacant spaces with artists, or after-hours rehearsal residencies at shops or office buildings. I think there is an authenticity to the type of communities and connections that are formed in this way and it would be great to see it happen more sustainably across the city.”

FAREWELL MAGNOLIA: HUB NEW MUSIC, AUDREY HARRER, JEANNIE GREELEY :: Saturday, February 24 at Magnolia Loft, 128 Brookside Ave. in Jamaica Plain :: 8 p.m., all ages, donations accepted :: Facebook event page :: Magnolia Loft Mixtape page :: Featured image via Magnolia Loft