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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
Follow LDOC on Instagram
Follow LDOC on Twitter
Like LDOC on Facebook

 

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2015 Grant Finalist Interview: Alternative Photo Share

Alternative Photo Share is proposed by Linda Lyons

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

I initially heard about the grant last year via a call for entry, and then more recently, I saw Crusade for Art postcards at the national Society for Photographic Education conference in New Orleans. 

I really enjoy alternative photographic processes and I’m especially drawn to their tactile, hand-made qualities. I appreciate the extensive time and labor that is needed to make these images and I love how they provide a different perspective on photographic work. My inspiration came from the desire to promote this type of photography in a unique way. Essentially, I wanted a project that shared my excitement about alternative process photography with artists and non-artists alike.

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

As I developed my project idea, I considered several areas that are important to me. I knew from the outset that I wanted to incorporate alternative process photography, due to my personal interest in the area and due to the lack of general knowledge about it. As an educator and artist, I often feel that digital methods are dominating the experience of viewing photography in our contemporary time. I wanted my project to deal with a tangible sharing experience, which utilized physical, hand-made prints. Even as a child, I always loved receiving mail and it seemed ideal to use the U.S. Postal Service as a distribution method. I also know many talented photographers who are underrepresented and I wanted my project to assist them in their artistic endeavors. It was important to me that the project provide ample opportunities for connection between participating artists and potential collectors.

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

Maryland Art Place in Baltimore, MD, hosts an annual event called Out of Order in which any artist (during one day only) is invited to install one of their pieces in MAP’s galleries. The work is hung salon style and the event attracts artists in all stages of their careers, from emerging to established. A few days after the install, there is a huge gala and silent auction for the exhibiting artists. This is major community event and has been a wonderful way to see art, buy art, and sell art.

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

Primarily, I believe the greatest struggle facing artists now is finding the time and having the space to actually create their work. Balancing life, with all of its commitments and distractions, while attempting to make art is hard, especially when working alone. I think self-promotion is also a major struggle for artists at the moment. Being proactive in making your work visible requires a lot of diligence.

One of the greatest opportunities for artists is the many ways to find and connect to other artists. I believe the making of art and promoting of your own art is much easier when you have a supportive community of others working towards the same goals. Having a collective effort to research opportunities and provide encouragement is of immeasurable value. 

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

I think artists should speak and write about their work in as many forums and venues as possible, in order to educate others about their work and art in general. I think it is extremely beneficial for artists to provide a frame of reference for their artwork in their artist talks and artist statements. Presenting their work in the context of the history of their medium, as well as as explaining any societal / cultural connection is imperative to promoting a deeper understanding of what they doing and why. There is an abundance of opportunities to do this, such as speaking about and showing work in academic institutions, local community art organizations, and public spaces (such as libraries). I believe artists should also strive to have a strong online presence as a means to connect to non-local audiences.

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 believe a lot of it is due to being unfamiliar with and feeling disconnected from art and artists. Art is subjective by nature and an artist’s intent and objectives for their work aren’t always clear. I think these factors contribute to the obstacles facing potential first-time collectors.

Perceptual barriers can be lowered by making art more accessible, affordable, and understandable.  A big part of it is having audiences more informed about art. This is mainly achievable through knowing more about artists and having a connection with them. I believe if collectors of photography are confident in their knowledge about their collected artists’ work, then not only will they be more invested in long-term collection, but they themselves will also become educators and advocates for the photographers whom they support. I believe it is primarily the role of artists to seek out potential collectors and to educate others about their work.

 

 

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2015 Grant Finalist Interview: Hand in Hand

Hand in Hand is proposed by Mark W. Wlaz

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

In 2014 I had begun working with Jennifer under a fee based mentoring arrangement. I was instantly impressed with Jennifer's knowledge, and her crusading concept. But most of all, her enthusiasm and energy were contagious.

I entirely bought into the notion that each of us as artists bears responsibility not only for creating art, but also for increasing the demand for art. 

It wasn't instantly clear how to accomplish this goal, but I knew it was something I would commit to trying. I read what I could about Matthew Conboy's winning concept from a year earlier, and let his idea percolate. It was several months later before my idea would take shape. 

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

One morning I was reading an email from my local, non-profit, public music radio station. It was my anniversary as a donor, and as they had done in prior years, they were offering a thank you gift. It is a very kind and well intentioned act, but it seemed to miss the mark. The gifts were of little interest to me. I wondered if other sustaining donors felt the same way.

This was when I had my "aha moment". Listeners who donate to keep the station on air, are actively demonstrating an interest in the local arts scene and a willingness to pull out their wallet in support. What an ideal target market for promoting local photographers and their art.  

By introducing artwork from local photographers into the mix as Thank You gifts - there is the opportunity to gain exposure for the artists, and stimulate the donors to collect local photography. As a partner, the radio station has the marketing muscle to lever its on-air advertising, social media efforts, website, and member email communications to promote the artists and the program. 

Why do people find art intimidating and what can be done about it?

There is no escaping the fact that for centuries Art was funded by the wealthy, and carried its own vernacular - both of which tended to create real or perceived separation from the masses.

Mural arts projects, free museum nights, inter-city youth arts, and a host of other programs work to increase accessibility, demystify, and increase exposure to the arts. They help immensely to break down barriers. Yet the notion of collecting art maintains some of its old bugaboos: "What if I choose the "wrong" piece?" and "I can't afford to collect art." are both common concerns.

By turning galleries into "art stores", and by selling art in more accessible ways - through art fairs, Thursday night art crawls, over the Internet, and at street festivals and events - we gain greater exposure, become more knowledgable and less intimidated. Upon seeing the diversity of art available, hopefully we conclude that there is something to suit everyone's taste and everyone's pocket book.

What is the greatest opportunity facing artists right now?

Technology is a fantastic enabler creating immense opportunity. Mobile phones, tablets, apps / software, desk-top computing tools are all powerful facilitators. They are inexpensive, readily accessible, and they unleash the power of our creativity and enable us to produce unique works of art.

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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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