Student Loan Photo Program is proposed by Julie Delliquanti

How did you come up with the idea for your project?

Student Loan was inspired by a program that I have long admired at MIT’s List Visual Arts Center.

After having raised two children who lived in dorms at college, I observed that the self- determination they exercised creating their own spaces was empowering and an important transitional moment in their foray into adulthood.

Also, I recognized that so many young people grow up in households without original art and this prompted me to think about what it would take to demonstrate art’s value, and acknowledge that saying it is valuable is not enough.

What is the most engaging art event/collecting event you’ve been to?

I enjoy community based events like Northern Spark and Art Shanties -- both Minnesota-based projects that provide opportunities for artists to interact and engage with the public in a setting that is outside of the gallery experience and encourages and rewards adventurous behavior, curiosity and openness to new experiences.

What do you think is the greatest struggle/weakness facing artists and the art community right now? What is the greatest opportunity/strength?

In many cities, artists behave like they are in competition with one another for audiences, collectors, funding. They need to be more willing to work together – collaborate, partner, identify opportunities for synchronicity, educate the community, and catalyze an informed citizenry who shares their belief that art is an important component to the individual and common good.

Artists and photographers need to socialize and involve themselves in circles that extend beyond the creative community if they want greater exposure to broader publics. Fortunately, we live in a technologically advanced age unlike ever before, where connecting to people across the country and across the world has never been easier. 

Why do you think many people find art intimidating, and how can we lower the perceptual barriers to entry for collecting art (and specifically photography)? 

I don’t agree that people find art intimidating. I think people find the art world intimidating – the museum and the commercial gallery being the primary spaces. In my experience as a museum educator, people do not fear the art or even worry that they won’t like it or understand it. They fear that if they admit that they don’t like it or don’t understand it, they will be judged by others as being unsophisticated, uneducated, common. We have put in place systems that often discourage curiosity, vulnerability and a willingness to be brave enough to participate in an experience that asks you to look longer, engage deeply, think differently, or consider ideas that you hadn’t before. As educators we also have to do a better job in helping the public to understand that making photographs is not about the technology or the equipment, it is a way of seeing the world.