What We Are


Arbutus celebrates, re-presents and amplifies ideas found in surprising places, ensuring that our picture of the world contains the joy that it should, and is accessible to everyone.

Arbutus was founded in 2018 to provide a sustainable way to gestate, incubate, and present joyous and imaginative projects from a range of artists and thinkers. A common thread among our current projects – Theater of the Mind and Reasons to be Cheerful – and those Arbutus has in development is that they have been dreamt up and are being created without adherence to a defined path or genre. Much like David Byrne’s past projects Contemporary Color, Playing the Building, and a series of bike racks created throughout NYC, Arbutus’ projects are unusual and expansive regarding how they come to be, the community of people involved in making them, and for whom they aim to serve.

Arbutus is a Tree

The Arbutus grows on rocks and upon stony ground, where other trees cannot. Under the plain looking bark it is red like blood. The Arbutus absorbs moisture and nutrients through the air. Once prized it was subsequently decimated, but is staging a comeback.

The Arbutus is a type of rhizome- it sends out roots and feelers that can become new plants, though through this network these new growths are all interconnected. Swallows often build nests in the Arbutus, unique in their incorporation of both bark and leaves. On windy days a curious sound can be heard emanating from the Arbutus, as wind whistles through the oddly shaped leaves and the flanges formed by the bark.

as The poet Emily Zeigler wrote:

Arbutus is a meeting place
It is a tool for inquiry
A tool for transformation
A place to come together
A place of shade, shelter and laughter
A place of aphorisms
A place that changes itself
Until I see myself in there