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The SPACES Website: Built to Become the Largest Digital Archive of Art Environments and Self-Taught Artistic Activity in the World

SPACES Home Page

Nearly two years ago, I joined several members of our team and traveled just south of San Francisco to spend a few days concepting and architecting what will become the largest digital archive of art environments and self-taught artists from all across the globe.

We’re pleased to announce that this site has now gone live with a vast amount of unique content and documentation — but this is just the beginning.



SPACES is a nonprofit group passionately dedicated to saving, preserving, discovering, and documenting self-taught artistic activity, and has been doing so since 1978. Founding director Seymour Rosen conceived of SPACES advocating for the preservation of large-scale art environments. The organization now boasts archives of approximately 25,000 photographs, as well as numerous books, articles, audio and video tapes/DVDs, and artists’ documents — all of which are now transitioning to the new website.



Working with the archivist at SPACES, TOKY architected the site so that it would be useful and intuitive for several key user types. Not only is the site able to be used by scholars to research historic material, but it’s also a place where novices can explore the world of self-taught art. Additionally, users can submit an art environment from the site and start an initial process in documenting and verifying unknown art environments across the world.


With a focus on the preservation and celebration of these self-taught art environments, SPACES is now better equipped to not only document and discover, but also to enlist the public’s help in this important effort.

During the coming years, the SPACES team will be continually adding to this rich online archive, building what will become the largest digital library of this kind of material in the world.

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Written by Jay David