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The Ten

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If Chicago Was a Hustle, Cleveland Was a Mosey. . .

Chicago was by far the most challenging pop-up, and with good reason (downtown street corner on a cold, windy Friday before a holiday weekend), and when we got to Cleveland, we were still pretty keyed up from it.  When we arrived at the Root Café in Lakewood on Sunday, we were anxious to get things going and start “selling” our free art.  The photographers arrived, and Sarah and I were rushing around the bus to set up, get the photographers prepared for engaging people who may be incredibly uninterested, and get our game faces on.  No need.  Cleveland just a smooth, easy, lovely walk in the park.  At one point someone asked how it compared to the Chicago pop-up, and I said, “Well, if Chicago was a hustle, Cleveland was a mosey”.  Everyone stopped.  Everyone was more than willing to chat a bit and take home a photograph.  Was it too easy?

When we were able to get someone to stop in Chicago, the energy was high.  The participant was surprised and excited and very interested to see all of the work and get to keep an image.  Everyone in Cleveland was so nice and accommodating ("Sure, I'll take a photograph"), it was hard to determine if a real connection was being made.

And then there was Henry.  Henry is 8 years old, and prior to this event, he did not own any original artwork outside of his own drawings.  He fell in love with this Sarah Moore photograph from The Ten, and was beyond excited to learn she was there in Cleveland and could tell him more about her image.  Henry was able to really articulate what drew him to the photograph and what he loved about it.  It was a really special moment and definitely a highlight of the tour for me.

The next day Cleveland Print Room hosted a Memorial Day BBQ and Crusade talk, which was really relaxed and fun.  Several of the people we met at the pop-up the day before came to hear the lecture, and it was great to get to check out this new facility.  Shari Wilkins, the founder of the community darkroom which opened just a few months ago, was instrumental in getting the Crusade to come through Cleveland.  It was not originally on the tour, but she made a compelling case, and was absolutely amazing as my "on the ground" person, coordinating the entire Cleveland stop.  So thankful - there just aren't words.

On our way out of town on Tuesday morning, we had the supreme pleasure of meeting Fred Bidwell at Transformer Station, where he gave us a tour of the absolutely mind-blowing Todd Hido show.  He graciously allowed me to ask him a million questions about his love of photography, how he started collecting, the mission of Transformer Station, and I will be sharing those in a future blog post, don't you worry.

And finally, the photographers!  Shari Wilkins from Cleveland Print Room curated the five photographers for the local photographer showcase, which was unique to this city (I have curated the photographers in all of the other cities into the project) and super fun.  A huge thank you to the five of them: Donald Black, Jr., Stephanie Mercer, Angelo Merendino, Dan Morgan and Julia Van Wagenen.  

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The Ten + Zatista Collaboration

The Ten is thrilled to have connected with an incredible online art selling site, Zatista. Zatista's goal is to give people an exciting, fun, accessible way to buy original art. Sound familiar? Zatista’s commitment to reaching new audiences and giving them an opportunity to connect with and collect original art. . . well, it was like finding a creative soulmate.

And as a sponsor of the Crusade for Collecting, Zatista is offering a little something extra for art collectors! Enter the coupon code “Crusade” for 10% your purchase of any art on Zatista.com.

Collect photography. Collect the World. The Ten.

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A Love Connection Popped Up at the High

In my last blog post about the first Crusade pop-up at the High Museum of Art I mentioned an amazing experience with someone who fell in love with a photograph from The Ten. I promised more, and I am a woman of my word. In addition to the Local Photographer Showcase, where ten local photographers were on hand to give away ten prints apiece to anyone who engaged with the event and loved their work, we had images from The Ten on display.

People were encouraged to browse this work, and if they fell in love, to make a heart-felt plea to convince us the image belonged to them.

Well, I didn't expect this -

from Janece Shaffer, pop-up attendee:

"Last week I heard about the Crusade for Collecting on WABE (our local NPR station) and what intrigued was the idea of artists – photographers – giving away their work in exchange for a passionate response to it. The story suggested that interested folks might “earn” a piece of art by performing a song, writing a poem, or making an impassioned plea about that art. My daughter and I decided to check it out – at the very least it promised to be great people watching. It was much more than that.

We spotted the blue VW van on the Plaza of the Woodruff Arts Center and headed over. There was a long table with 10 different photos displayed on it and behind the table stood the photographers who had made these images – images as varied as close up kisses, moutainscapes, and a paneled wall with two moose heads on display. It was the chance to meet the artists and hear about the piece, their process and whatever else you wanted to ask. It was an easy-to-talk-to-crowd and we were glad we came. With just a conversation, you could easily score any of the 6 by 9 photos on the table – how great is that?

On the other side of the van were larger images – created by 10 other photographers from the region and beyond. My daughter and I were taken with many of them but then we came across a photo of a young boy – it looked like summer – his face dotted with freckles, his daring gaze direct to camera, his skinny arms filled with too many water balloons. My response to the piece was visceral – pure delight. It had whimsy, innocence and young-boy-mischief and I wanted to take it home with me. And before I knew it, I was talking with Jennifer Schwartz asking if I could write a short play in response to this photograph. We had come to watch but instead here I was making a case – and why? Because a photograph had gotten inside me and I needed to keep it there.

I’m excited to write the piece. To hear what this young boy has to say to me. Thank you, Warren for creating such a vivid portrayal and for allowing me the chance to live with it."

Warren Harold image from The Ten, selected by pop-up attendee Janece Shaffer

Warren Harold image from The Ten, selected by pop-up attendee Janece Shaffer

She saw it, and it was hers.  Art can be like that.  Beautiful.

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First Crusade Stop Sets the Bar High

Get it? High? High Museum? Sorry. Couldn't help myself. . . A year of planning, more than a few tears, and a tidal wave of supportive and encouraging emails, messages and hugs and here we are, pop-up number one a huge success and pop-up number two just a few days away. I am on cloud nine. Maybe even cloud ten.

The first official Crusade for Collecting pop-up event was hosted by Atlanta’s High Museum of Art the day after Thanksgiving, one of their busiest days of the year. Early that morning I loaded the Lady, removed the side mirrors (the final pass-through to drive onto the piazza is very narrow), and held my breath as I steered her onto the High’s Sifly Piazza, then had a gear-grinding victory lap.  

Later that morning we came back to set up, and before we could get the first thing out of the bus, people were stopping to see what the Crusade was all about.  The ten Atlanta photographers featured in the local photographer showcase came just before the event start to sign their prints and get the run-down.  It was such a talented group, and the images were amazing.

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Anyone who stopped could take a look at the images, meet the photographers, and choose their favorite to keep. We gave away nearly 100 images on Friday, and people were shocked and thrilled to be able to choose a piece of art to own. The photographers really engaged with people, and on several occasions conversations lasted so long, they moved away from the table and talked and talked. For me, that was everything. The exposure, the connection, the conversation.

We also had work from The Ten displayed, and there was one extra special encounter that I will save for its own blog post (the anticipation!).  There was a video loop of the Ten photographers talking about their work, that you can watch here (extra special thanks to Sean Dana for making a lot of disparate parts come together in the coolest way), which gave some context for the images displayed.  And then my kids took it upon themselves (their dad may have indicated there could be a commission involved) to hawk the Crusade merchandise to anyone on the grounds.  Lila even learned a lesson in upselling.

It was an amazing day and the perfect way to launch this tour.

Crusade away!!

Our Atlanta sponsors came through in a big way – Binders with custom mats for the Ten work and some cash money to make things happen, PPRPix with the printing of the local photographer showcase images, andDigital Picture with all of the signage.  Thank you again for the support – it means so much.

Local Photographer Showcasers and their websites – please do check out their other work:

Kendra Adams

Bill Boling

Stephanie Dowda

Nikita Gale

Michael McCraw

Mary Anne Mitchell

Nathan Sharratt

Jerry Siegel  

Anderson Smith

Karley Sullivan

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