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Local Chapters

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Local Chapter Summit. . . BOOM!

If you live outside of Chicago or Brooklyn, you may not realize that one of Crusade for Art's major initiatives is its Local Chapter program. The local chapters are made up of up to ten artist members who all work together to promote and sell their work and cultivate collectors in their own communities.

We have thriving chapters in both Chicago (our first) and Brooklyn (our second). This past weekend we held our annual Local Chapter Summit (so official!) where the directors of each chapter and I got together to discuss, brainstorm and celebrate. 

In case you haven't been following along. . .

The Chicago chapter has just hit its one-year anniversary and celebrated with a successful tiered print sale – a redo of their launch event, which will now be an annual anniversary affair. They created a postcard subscription program in 2015 that they are repeating for 2016. This is an effective, low-cost way to regularly connect with their audience. Each postcard has a hand-written message from the featured artist member. Chicago also held an Art-B-Q event that they hope to turn into another annual event. They paired BBQ food with an outdoor art exhibition, where pieces were bid on with tickets and auctioned off. They were also invited by Alibi Gallery to have an exhibition of members' work. Kind of a badass year.

Chicago has six artist members (one was added recently, the others were founding members). Matthew Crowther is the director, but decisions are made democratically and responsibilities are delegated. The chapter also regularly holds informal critique sessions between members and rotate instagram posting responsibilities.

 

The Brooklyn chapter also launched (this summer) with a tiered print sale, followed by an opportunity to showcase their work in a shipping container in Photoville. The Photoville event is highly selective, and the prestige and incredible visibility was a huge boost to the new chapter.

Brooklyn has ten artist members, and Liz Arenberg and Sara Macel are the co-directors. The Brooklyn chapter has two new programming initiatives for 2016. One is a series of ArtFeast dinners where a chef will be paired with two artists to create a meal inspired by the artist members’ work. The featured artist members would give memento prints to attendees and also have larger framed pieces for sale. In the second program, the chapter is partnering with a successful agricultural CSA to offer an agriculture + art option to shareholders.

So what was the summit all about?

We spent a lot of time discussing the possibility of adding “curator members” to the overall local chapter membership. These members would be people interested in art and collecting and would be responsible for creating programming to educate like-minded people and encourage them to participate in and collect art. We also talked about ways to increase the visibility of the artist members, cross-chapter collaborations, future programming, adding a new chapter, accounting and accountability, and just generally about the awesomeness of the directors and this program.

 

Matthew Crowther (Chicago Chapter Director), Ivette Spradlin (future Pittsburgh artist member??), Matthew Conboy (Director of Start With Art, Local Chapter Summit host), Liz Arenberg (Brooklyn Chapter Co-Director), Sara Macel (Brooklyn Chapter Co-Director)

Matthew Crowther (Chicago Chapter Director), Ivette Spradlin (future Pittsburgh artist member??), Matthew Conboy (Director of Start With Art, Local Chapter Summit host), Liz Arenberg (Brooklyn Chapter Co-Director), Sara Macel (Brooklyn Chapter Co-Director)

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Crusade for Art Chicago Mixes Pork and Photography

Reposted from the Crusade for Art Chicago blog (original post, October 15, 2015)

The members of the Crusade for Art Chicago Chapter held their first-ever Art-B-Q event on Sunday October 4, 2015. Taking over Heritage Bicycle General Store’s picnic area, the chapter’s members hosted a well-attended outing that included food, drinks, prizes and art photography.

The lot across the alley from Heritage was transformed into an outdoor installation of 34” vinyl prints from each of the chapter’s members. Artist and Crusade for Art Chicago member, Garrett Baumer dedicated nearly the entire 48-hour period before the event reducing more than 40 pounds of pork into about 15 pounds of pure barbeque gold.  The pork was served with sauce and homemade seasoned potato chips. When asked about the quality of the food, invited guest Nolan Narut, executive chef for the Windsor Restaurant summed it up in one word, “awesome!”

The Art-B-Q attendees purchased raffle tickets which also granted them free food and beverages. Each ticket was placed into a box next to editioned prints, yearlong postcard subscriptions and a bottle of Brand X, Baumer’s delectable barbecue sauce. Many of the guests stayed to see crusade member, Joseph Wilcox use his “teacher’s voice” to announce the winners. Matthew Crowther, who leads the Crusade for Art Chicago chapter remarked that the first Art-B-Q was a success and “it was so fantastic to see so many people getting together on a Sunday to have a good time and talk about art."

Crusade for Art's mission is to engage new audiences with art. Our work is about developing and supporting innovative initiatives that create demand for art and opportunities to collect it. The members of Crusade for Art Chicago include Garrett Baumer, Matt Crowther, Barbara Deiner, Jonathan Lurie, Julie Weber and Joseph Wilcox.

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Crusade for Art Brooklyn Rocks Photoville

Constructed Identities, a Crusade for Art Brooklyn exhibition at Photoville
by Sara Macel, co-director of Crusade for Art Brooklyn

Photoville's shipping container exhibitions

Photoville's shipping container exhibitions

Back in early 2015 when Liz and I were conceiving of Crusade for Art Brooklyn, one of the dream events we thought would be a perfect partner to our mission to engage new audiences with photography was having a group show at Photoville, the annual outdoor festival organized by United Photo Industries in Brooklyn Bridge Park every September. Photoville was seen by 71,000 in 2014, and we couldn't think of a better way to make a splash and announce ourselves to our Brooklyn audience and to the photo world .

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And so, early one morning just before the deadline for Photoville exhibition proposals, I submitted our proposal for Crusade for Art Brooklyn. Being a brand new non-profit, we knew we might be a long shot since the competition is fierce for this festival. Then, we got word back that Sam Barzilay and Laura Roumanos from UPI/Photoville wanted to get us on a video conference call. It sounded promising, but again, we didn't want to get our hopes up. In preparation, Liz and I called Jennifer. During that brainstorming session, the amazing-idea-machine that is Jennifer Schwartz, came up with the idea that we'd take instant Polaroid portraits of our audience and install those images in a mural to be made over the course of the festival in real time by all 10 members of our local chapter. It was the perfect combination of showcasing our members' work and interacting with our visitors that we needed. We also decided that the three of us would curate the show featuring the work of our 10 members: Liz Arenberg, Mia Berg, Nicholas Calcott, Sean Carroll, Maureen Drennan, Sara Fox, Sara Macel, Minta Maria, Tim Melideo, and Charlotte Strode. On the call, Sam and Laura couldn't be kinder or more excited about our ideas. I think it was about halfway through the call that Sam came right out and said "So, you're in." Somehow, I was able to wait until the call ended to jump around like a maniac in my studio. And then the real work began...

hanging the show

hanging the show

This was the first time I personally had ever helped curate a show and organize it from the written proposal to the finished exhibition. At times, it was overwhelming. But our member artists are really amazing and just when I thought there was no way I was going to be able to get all this done, we had a group meeting and everyone excitedly stepped up to take on tasks and jobs. As co-directors, Liz and I have these moments when we look around at these incredibly hard-working, talented folks and thank our lucky stars that we get to be part of Crusade for Art Brooklyn with them.

Crusade for Art member artists setting up

Crusade for Art member artists setting up

Carl from Luxlab made all of our prints. I spent two mornings in August hanging out in his studio. Seeing our prints in exhibition size was pretty great. GL mounted all the prints, and Sean helped us find foamcore for our mural wall. Installation day was hot and sweaty, but with half the team there, we were able to get the work up on the walls (first with magnets, then with velcro) relatively smoothly. I have to pass by the festival from the BQE on my way to teach photography at Kingsborough College, and it felt like leaving my child at daycare the next day when I drove by Photoville on my way to work. 

At the opening party on Friday, Sept 11th, 2015, I stood outside our container/gallery watching my friends and strangers mingling among our prints and having their portraits taken for the mural. The WTC Tribute in Light shown over lower Manhattan, and I took a moment to take it all in. I was a beginning photo student at NYU on September 11, 2001. I had just started dating my boyfriend, and I don't often like to talk or think about that day. I almost left New York for good after that. But I stuck around. And I never gave up on New York or photography or that boyfriend. And in that moment, all of those things that I love were right there in the same place, and it filled me with pride. And that was all before the festival even started!

Over the next two weekends, our members took turns interacting with our visitors and taking their portraits and engaging with fellow artists and Photoville participants. What Laura and Sam and Dave have created with Photoville is a community in every sense of the word, and it felt great to be a part of it. We talked to visitors about our goals as a non-profit and about our ideas for upcoming events. People signed up for our mailing list, and other photographers asked when they could submit work to become members (in the future, we promise!) I got to see so many amazing artists I love and share our work with them: Anna Beeke, Jeff Jacobson, and Jennifer McClure to shamelessly namedrop a few. It was kind of cool to come back after a few days away and see the portraits we all made and how the mural started to, almost organically, take on the shape of the continental US. 

But for me, the best moment was on my last shift on the last weekend when a group of 20-somethings came in to our gallery. I told them a bit about us and asked if I could take their portrait. Immediately, they assembled into perfect "band photo" poses. It was hilarious and perfect. I took their portrait twice because they were so fun. And then, one of them asked me if we could re-take it with them holding up a sign that said "Photoville", so I did. I gave her that Polaroid to keep. On their way out, one of them told me that our gallery was their favorite because "you interacted with us and made it fun." And that right there is what Crusade for Art Brooklyn is all about. Thank you, Brooklyn! And thank you Photoville!

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Crusade for Art Brooklyn's Print Sale Event a Huge Success!

Tiered print sale, photo by Sean Carroll

Tiered print sale, photo by Sean Carroll

post by Sara Macel, Crusade for Art Brooklyn Co-Director

Friday night, June 26th, was Crusade for Art Brooklyn's Pop-Up Party & Print Sale, our inaugural event to introduce ourselves to the Brooklyn community. Each of our ten artists presented one image for sale in an edition of 3 8x10s (priced at $20 for the first print in the edition, $40 for the second, and $60 for the third) as well as a 20x24 print for silent auction (starting at $100 to bid).

In the weeks leading up to the event, our ten Crusade local members (Liz Arenberg, Sara Macel, Sean Carroll, Charlotte Strode, Nicholas Calcott, Maureen Drennan, Sara Fox, Mia Berg, Minta Maria and Tim Melideo) met to work out the details and volunteer for different event planning duties. It really was a team effort, and everyone's contributions are what made the night such a success. Through our efforts, we were able to get Sixpoint Brewery and Langdon Shiverick to donate beer and wine, our member Sara Fox kindly donated the use of her amazing studio space, Nowhere Studios, and Luxlab in NYC gave us a generous discount on our prints.

Crusade for Art Brooklyn member artists, photo by Porter Fox

Crusade for Art Brooklyn member artists, photo by Porter Fox

On the night of the event, all our members arrived early to hang prints in the front gallery space of Nowhere Studios. The gallery opens up into a larger room with couches and a kitchen space where we set up all the food and drinks as well as a slideshow that showed a broader range of each members work and explained more to the crowd about the pricing of the editions and how the profits from that night would help fund our next group show in September 2015. Sara and her husband Porter opened up the rooftop to our guests and did an amazing job with the tunes. 

large print silent auction, photo by Sean Carroll

large print silent auction, photo by Sean Carroll

We were thrilled to see our promotional efforts for the event pay off with nearly 100 guests throughout the night and many of our artists selling out of their editions, and the rest coming close to it! By the end of the night, there was an all-out bidding war for Mia Berg's 20x24 print. It was so fun seeing all our respective friends and supporters mingling and collecting the work of our fellow members. We were thrilled with the evening's success, and I think all in attendance would agree: Crusade for Art Brooklyn throws a hell of a party. We can't wait to kick off summer with another print sale party next year! Thanks Brooklyn and see you at our next event in September!

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Chicago Local Chapter's First Crusade Event

This blog post is a copy of the one originally published on the Crusade for Art Chicago website on October 26, 2014.

We did it! Crusade for Art Chicago held a print sale two weeks ago, selling work from our members in a fun, affordable, and innovative way. It was our first event as a collective and it was a great success! I'm so proud of our member artists who put it so much work to pull this off and supremely grateful to CHIPRC for being a wonderful host and partner in the event.

All the available prints at the start of the night. As the evening progressed, more and more got crossed off the board.

All the available prints at the start of the night. As the evening progressed, more and more got crossed off the board.

So, how did we do it? As this was a Crusade event, we wanted it to be more than a standard sale, we wanted it to be an experience. We also wanted this event to reach new collectors not just of our work but of art in general. That meant we wanted to keep the prices at a point that was accessible not intimidating. We also wanted to add an element of excitement, so we deciding on a sliding scale for the prices. With each print that sold from an edition the price went up, starting at just $10 and topping out at $50.

We even take credit cards!

We even take credit cards!

Of course, we wanted it to be a chance for potential collectors to interact with the artists, so we provided food and drinks and were all on hand to discuss our work with anyone who was interested in knowing more about what we do.

The most exciting part of the event was how many new faces we saw, and how many new collectors made their first art purchases that night! Overall, this was a great way to introduce the chapter to the Chicago art community, while bringing more people into it. And that's what the Crusade for Art is all about, building audiences and growing communities.

Check back here to learn more about more events we have planned together, as well as news about what each of us has going on separately. Also, be sure to contact us to join the mailing list or get more information on Crusade for Art Chicago!

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Chicago Crusade for Art Local Chapter is Rolling!

Last week I was in Chicago for the Filter Photo Festival, which also gave me an opportunity to meet with the five artist members of the Crusade for Art local chapter. The local chapters are very important to our mission. While Crusade for Art provides resources and inspiration, the goal is to empower photographers to activate and begin implementing ideas and programs at a local level to create demand for their work.

Independent, volunteer Crusade for Art chapters around the country are the ground force of the movement. The chapters are provided with the program guidelines, best practices, support, logo, and brand of Crusade for Art, as well as use local resources and creative talent to develop new programs. Local chapters create and implement programs and events that both create exposure opportunities for their artist members and cultivate new collectors within their communities.

They are like fine art photography collectives. With some extra awesomeness.

photograph that will be available for purchase in the print sale, by Chicago artist member, Barbara Diener

photograph that will be available for purchase in the print sale, by Chicago artist member, Barbara Diener

The Chicago chapter is the first to really get up and running. We have a few others that are still in the organizing phase, but Matthew Crowther (the director of the Chicago chapter), just happens to be a dynamo. The five artist members (each chapter can have up to ten, and the members serve two-year terms) have met several times, and their kick-off event is Friday, October 10. It is a print sale, but Crusade-style (that means unique, exciting and super fun).

They will be offering work from each of their members for sale at great prices in editions of 5, but the twist is that with each print sold from an edition, the price increases $10. So if you are in Chicago, get there early, because each edition starts at $10, but ends at $50. I predict a photographic frenzy! More info here.

photograph that will be available for purchase in the print sale, by Chicago artist member, Jonathan Lurie

photograph that will be available for purchase in the print sale, by Chicago artist member, Jonathan Lurie

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Crusade Summit Creates First Local Chapters

This past weekend marked the first annual Crusade Summit, where directors from Crusade for Art local chapters met to collaborate, plan, and get inspired to bring new ideas back to their member artists. As this was the first Summit, the goal was to set up guidelines and organizational structures for the local chapters and create both short and long-term strategies for success at the local level. While Crusade for Art provides resources and inspiration, the goal is to empower photographers to activate and begin implementing ideas and programs at a local level to create demand for their work.

Independent, volunteer Crusade for Art chapters around the country are the ground force of the movement.  The chapters are provided with the program guidelines, best practices, support, logo, and brand of Crusade for Art, as well as use local resources and creative talent to develop new programs.

Local chapters create and implement programs and events that both create exposure opportunities for their artist members and cultivate new collectors within their communities.

We are launching two local chapters - Crusade for Art Chicago (with Matthew Crowther as director) and Crusade for Art Pittsburgh (with Matthew Conboy as director). So the Matthews came to Atlanta, and we got to work. Each chapter will have a maximum of ten member artists, and artists will rotate out of active membership in the group after two years. Local chapters will have their own websites and will plan and execute a minimum of four programs or events per year.

The challenge (for all of us, yes?) is to create programs that not only give member artists exposure and exhibition opportunities, but also actively cultivate new collectors in the community. That's what Crusade for Art is all about, after all.

And I must say, these two guys. . . incredible. Not only are they absolutely wonderful artists and people, they have the heart, passion, and commitment to really make a difference in their cities and beyond. I am thankful for them, and Chicago and Pittsburgh will be thankful for them to.

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