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While You Were Out: Keeping up with .LDOC

It's been an exciting summer so far for Crusade for Art with the unveiling of our newest Engagement Grant recipient and the recent success of former winners. We decided to check in with 2015 Crusade Engagement winners Danielle and Joseph Wilcox to get caught up with the current happenings of their program LDOC.

LDOC boc, Chicago, IL. Image Source:  LDOC Blog

LDOC boc, Chicago, IL. Image Source: LDOC Blog

Since its inception and winning of last year's Crusade for Art Engagement Grant, LDOC has received a variety of recognition in various forms, as well as flourished as a platform for artists and writers to publish work for an audience outside of their typical circles. We have printed and distributed ten issues featuring twenty different individuals who have also received opportunities as a result of LDOC, including representation contacts, additional features of their work, and collaboration opportunities. In addition to our print version of LDOC, we publish each issue on the Issuu website which has already received hundreds of views.
Image Source:  LDOC Facebook Page

Image Source: LDOC Facebook Page

Our main goal when starting LDOC was to get photography and writing into the hands of Chicagoans who might not typically encounter either on their daily commute. This we have overwhelmingly accomplished. With the help of our LDOC newspaper boxes, and the volunteership of our photographers and writers through person-to-person distribution, LDOC has made its way into new homes and unexpected hands.
It has been a rewarding experience seeing the excited faces of commuters who have become regular readers of LDOC and hearing stories of success from our contributors. We look forward to the continued collaboration with artists and the evolution of LDOC as a publication and organization, and we are grateful to Crusade for Art for their financial support and confidence in the project.

- Joseph and Danielle Wilcox

Learn more about LDOC at their website
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2016 Grant Finalist Interview: Increasing Exposure to Art Photography in the Bakken Region

Increasing Exposure to Art Photography in the Bakken Region is Proposed by Meghan Kirkwood

How did you hear about the grant, and what inspired you to propose this specific project for the Crusade for Art grant?

I learned about the Crusade for Art grant last year from a colleague. I was intrigued by the concept and spent some time on the website looking at (and being inspired by) projects from previous finalists. The grant’s emphasis on reaching and connecting new audiences to photography is different than many public arts grants, which are often geared towards supporting known outreach strategies. The particular challenges to artists in the Crusade for Art grant were what inspired me to propose my project. In the Bakken region of western North Dakota there are numerous institutional and perceptual barriers that limit how audiences access and perceive visual arts, and new, creative strategies are needed to move beyond the limitations they impose.

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

I came up with the idea for my project by thinking through challenges I have faced working in western North Dakota. The Bakken region is huge, and comprises many different communities, some of which have been in the area for centuries and others that only arrived after the most recent oil boom. As such, connecting with “local audiences” is not an easily defined endeavor, and I have been challenged to think about what it means to make work that is both relevant and accessible to a particularly diverse set of residents. I believe that photography can uniquely contribute to and inform ongoing reflections on natural resource extraction and its attendant impacts among the various communities in the region, but to do so, it needs to draw upon a non-traditional venues/distribution modes (especially in an area that has few to no galleries or arts institutions).

How do you think artists should play a role in educating the public or their audience about their art or art in general?

The “job” of the artist has changed so much in the past few years (artists must be excellent makers, designers, writers, marketers, and personal advocates), that I’m hesitant to offer suggestions on what role artists should play in educating the public about their art. That said, I do think artists have a responsibility to think about who their audience is when they design long-term projects. If artists (like so many of us do) want to take their work beyond the white cube, we need to do more than find a new, more public “cube” to show our work in after we’ve finished it. Rather, we need to develop new strategies to integrate art into the public sphere (where it can reach a completely different set of audiences), and these strategies need to be a part of our working process from the outset.

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 think many people find art intimidating because they’ve had limited opportunities to interact with it.  If you’ve never had the chance to study art, work with an artist, or view art made from and about your community, how do you learn what art can do? How do you know that art can be relevant to you and your life? Moreover, I think many people associate art with a specific set of venues and events, which may be places or occasions that they do not themselves feel drawn to. To encourage more people to engage with photography, artists need to find different ways to meet audiences where they are at and – through their work – show them what art is capable of. We (photographers) were all lucky enough to have had some experience that created a desire in us to make and collect images; we need to think of ways to create such experiences for audiences who haven’t yet had the same opportunity.


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2015 Grant Finalist Interview: #HiddenArtSLO

#HiddenArtSLO is proposed by Catherine Trujillo, Charmaine Martinez, and Jeff VanKleeck

How did you hear about the grant, and what inspired you to propose this specific project for the Crusade for Art grant?

Jeff: Catherine told me about it.

Catherine: Jeff found it.

Charmaine: Catherine and Jeff.

But really, San Luis Obispo is halfway between Los Angeles and San Francisco. For our local community and our two collectives, we feel like the center of the universe at times and exiled into Siberia at times because of our coastal and rural location. Photographer Jeff Van Kleeck heard about the Crusade4Art grant and pitched it as an opportunity to expose our community to national photographers and to promote our talented pool of regional and emerging photographers.  

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

Jeff: I stole the idea from Catherine.

The projects is based on the Nothing Happened Here mission: A full-circle gesture to place art in an entirely unusual and unexpected context. All we leave behind are smiles. Curator Catherine Trujillo started #HiddenArtSLO last year partnering with area artists, writers, musicians, and creatives, to hide their work throughout the county for the community to discover. The hope is that the finder shares via social media and helps generate interest for the partner artist and their work. And in a quiet way, we want to provide an incentive so that finders can become collectors, and find a love for our local artists and creatives to become life-long collectors of awesome artists.  

Building upon this concept, #HiddenPhotoSLO seemed like a perfect evolution to encourage the collecting of fine art photography. Photography inspires and tells enriching stories that connect us all.

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

Charmaine: the Wisconsin Tryagainnial: an alternative exhibition held in a rented Ryder truck by University of Wisconsin art graduate students who were all rejected from the Wisconsin Triennial exhibition at the Madison Art Center. It was a freezing night and we served hot cocoa in the truck “gallery” which was lit with several clip lights from Home Depot. The curators of the Wisconsin Triennial were kind enough to visit the Tryagainnial exhibition—they were supportive and encouraging and they thought our show in the back of a truck was hilarious.

Catherine: Typing In Public-- Reading In Public's 2010 community event. The event primarily focused on people writing on typewriters around town, but folks shared comments via TwitterFlickr, and texted their submissions. To spark some inspiration, we received submissions from a variety of people, including Gerald Casale for Devo, and Dr. Paul Frommer writing in Na'vi (with translation to English). This by far was the most hysterical, collaborative, and joyful venture where everyone and their brother was able to contribute in one form or another.

Jeff: Anderson Ranch Art Auction in Snowmass Colorado. I almost spent $1200 on a teapot and I only had $200 and it went for $3,000. It was addicting and exciting.

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

The greatest weakness is that people spend all their time viewing screens, not people. In addition, creative work is not valued in our society. The greatest opportunity is that there are so many people out there making cool stuff.  We want to be the bridge that connects artists and emerging collectors.

How do you think artists should play a role in educating the public or their audience about their art or art in general?

Artists need to give context to their work. It is not enough just to put it on the wall. People crave story, context and experience. Why not be whimsical about it!

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)?

Many people find fine art photography intimidating because it is so often presented in an austere, white box. Most galleries are not fun and do not engage people as people. There is a perception that building an art collection is for the wealthy. What we aim to do is place art in context for the masses. Moms, dads, students, neighbors, uncles, kids. Anyone and everyone.

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Collecting Week: Why Photography Is a Good First Choice

Photography is the perfect medium to appeal to the would-be collector. It is contemporary, and it is accessible (both in price and in technique). We understand photography. We know how it is done, and we appreciate its fresh, modern, and visually stimulating takes on our world. We can look at an image and be amazed that someone was able to use a camera – a piece of equipment we all own and use – to create something that moves us so powerfully. Because photography is so young in the spectrum of the arts, many legends are still alive. We are able to meet them, hear them lecture, and attend exhibits of their work. And just below the “legend” level, there are many well-known fine art photographers who are interested in connecting with the people who collect their work. They are out in the world and easy to follow and communicate with. It is like being able to email the lead singer of your favorite band – and have them write back and want to meet up for coffee.

Most photography is also affordable. A painting or sculpture by a mid-career artist would be significantly more expensive than a photograph by a photographer with the same level of recognition and exposure. It is possible to really make a significant investment at a reasonable price point and watch the value of your work grow.

You can use the “good investment” angle to help you take the purchasing plunge, but at the end of the day, you should buy what you love. You should buy a photograph that makes you feel something. You do not have to be able to identify that something or even be able to articulate what appeals to you. You just have to love it.

Trust your gut. There are no wrong choices. And if you are working with a gallery with a strong reputation, you cannot go wrong.