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Jennifer Schwartz Selects on Fototazo

The premise here is simple: to ask a curator, blogger, editor, photographer or other person involved in contemporary photography to select five portfolios of work that they are currently excited about to recommend to the rest of us, placing emphasis - ideally - on work that hasn't seen heavy rotation online. The portfolios are not presented in any sort of order.

The series comes from a belief that the Internet has a tendency to briefly cohere around certain projects and, longer-term, establish its own canon of photographers, distinct and separate from the gallery and museum canons.

While these dynamics have advantages, they also have the expense of promoting a limited number of projects on a large scale, frequently overshadowing other projects equal in quality. This series, then, seeks in particular to look for great photography that counterbalances heavily distributed projects. It also is part of a general interest I have for this site to go behind the limits of my single vision, personal knowledge and time.

Today's guest is Jennifer Schwartz. Her biography follows the post. For previous posts in this series, please see the site links page.

Nataly Castaño helped organize this post.

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Crusade for Art is always searching for talented photographers to feature in our online curation project,FOCAL POINT. FOCAL POINT surveys the landscape of emerging photographers and selects three talented, driven and noteworthy artists to highlight each quarter. It was a challenge to select just five for fototazo, but I chose photographers whose work may be new to your audience.

  © Dorothy O'Connor

© Dorothy O'Connor

Dorothy O’Connor
The worlds Dorothy creates are full and glorious, and as someone lucky enough to have been able to see many of them close-up and in person, I can attest to the fact that every minute detail is considered. Her Scenes are a wonder and some of richest images I have seen.

 

  © Katie Koti

© Katie Koti

Katie Koti 
Katie's photographs are raw and wide-open in a way that is both refreshing and a little unsettling. The energy and unselfconscious way the subjects seem to embrace life and each other feels rare, precious and foreign. I want to keep looking, either to puzzle it out or to wonder at the pure beauty. But I want to just keep looking. . .

 

  © Amelia Morris

© Amelia Morris

Amelia Morris
Amelia describes her work as "a series of public declarations and private confessions." Her photographs are that plus whimsy and humor and heart. They feel honest in the most beautiful way.

 

  © Julien Mauve

© Julien Mauve

Julien Mauve
After first seeing Julien's photographs in the student award area of Paris Photo in 2012, I couldn't stop thinking about them. They pull you in with mystery and beauty and then keep you there.

 

  © Ansley West Rivers

© Ansley West Rivers

Ansley West Rivers
Ansley has a gift of creating visually beautiful images that address not-so-beautiful environmental issues.Seven Rivers (still in progress) showcases that talent to the fullest. All of the images are created in-camera to create a layered effect that shows both the current state of the river and also alludes to future consequences of unchecked threats to fresh water.

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Jennifer Schwartz is the creator/director of Crusade for Art, a non-profit organization focused on cultivating demand for art, specifically fine art photography. Jennifer owned a fine art photography gallery in Atlanta (Jennifer Schwartz Gallery) for five years, showcasing the work of emerging photographers. She also created the online project, The Ten, and is the co-creator of Flash Powder Projects. In the spring of 2013, she traveled around the country in a 1977 VW bus, engaging audiences with photography. Her book, Crusade For Your Art: Best Practices for Fine Art Photographers was published in March 2014.

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New Project at St. Clair Hospital Sends Newborns Home with Art

By David Mayernik Jr.
Wednesday, Feb. 4, 2015, 9:01 p.m.

Original article here.

Joshua and Danielle Karlovich welcomed their third child, Michael Eli, at St. Clair Hospital on Jan. 21.

They went home to Canonsburg with him and a photograph, “Mist Over the Ohio,” as part of the hospital's new Start with Art program. Joshua Karlovich said the photo — depicting a haze over the Ohio River — brought some peace to a stressful but joy-filled time.

“I know whenever you're having a baby, it can be a very dramatic time sometimes, but I thought it was really peaceful. We're going to see if we can frame it and put it up in his room.”

Michael is one of 67 babies born so far this year to receive original works of art in the program initiated by Matthew Conboy, who teaches media arts at Robert Morris University.

Last fall, he bested about 160 entries to secure a $10,000 grant from Crusade for Art to build audiences for photography. This year, every baby born at St. Clair Hospital in Mt. Lebanon, The Midwife Center for Birth & Women's Health in the Strip District and UPMC Mercy in Uptown will receive a photograph.

Conboy, 37, from Washington, D.C., said the idea to give away art came from two sources.

He was inspired by St. Clair's tradition of sending babies home with a Terrible Towel and by stories about Jennifer Schwartz, creator/director of the Atlanta-based nonprofit Crusade for Art, which aims to introduce people to art.

“I want to make sure these babies born this year kind of get a 20-year head start on collecting art,” he said.

He met with St. Clair Hospital officials in early January to pitch his project.

“It literally took five minutes and two emails to come to an agreement on the project,” he said. “It was probably one of the most amazing things I've ever seen because there was no talking bureaucracy, no questions asked.”

Linda McIntyre, director of St. Clair's Family Birth Center, said Conboy brought photos with him and the hospital started giving them out the same day.

“We obviously thought it was a great idea. It fits in with our philosophy of treating our newborns and families with respect and dignity and doing that with a little bit of fun from the very beginning of their lives.”

Conboy expects 3,500 newborns to go home from the hospitals with photographs this year. About 1,300 are born each year at St. Clair Hospital.

Each month is assigned to a local artist who will create an original work that will be gifted to newborns and their families.

January's photograph is by Aaron Blum, who originally is from West Virginia. His photo, “Mist Over the Ohio,” reflects his exploration of what it means to be Appalachian.

Conboy hand-delivered prints to families at St. Clair Hospital last month.

“They were just so happy to have something for the baby's wall when they go home,” he said.

McIntyre said she hopes the program is an extension of the hospital's many wellness program and hopes it can kickstart an appreciation of the “finer things in life” from the beginning.

David Mayernik Jr. is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at dmayernik@tribweb.com.



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St. Clair Hospital Newborns Start with Art

The Almanac
Published Jan 23, 2015 at 9:52 am

Matthew Conboy believes children aren’t getting enough exposure to fine art, so he has reached out to three regional hospitals to provide parents and their newborns the work of professional photographers and artists through 2015.

“Mr. Conboy saw our Steelers and Pirates babies all decked out and thought it would offer a similar opportunity to expose some fine art to a very new audience as well,” said Linda McIntyre, women and children’s services director at the hospital.

“I teach at Robert Morris and Point Park, and I have students telling me they’ve never been to a museum. It’s a foreign concept to them,” said Conboy, a photographer and educator.

Conboy was awarded a $10,000 grant from Crusade for Art to underwrite an educational program, so he pitched to St. Clair Hospital – along with UPMC Mercy and The Midwife Center for Birth & Women’s Health – the “Start with Art” program.

The pieces are provided by six photographers and six artists, each specializing in a style or method.

“February’s piece is a photograph called Mist over the Ohio, a color photo of the river with some low-hanging mist over it,” McIntyre said.

“The pieces will change month to month,” Conboy said, “for instance, February’s will be of a beautiful bird. Then later on in the year you’ll see some abstract art and city landscapes.”

Conboy hopes the art pieces will inspire children, perhaps not as early as toddlers, but later as mementos their parents can remind them about.

“With the museum story, we’re in a region so rich with culture, history and art, it’s important to me to get these students a head start in that regard. By going home with a piece of art, they have a 25-year head start on me – that’s when I bought my first piece of art – and I’m an artist,” he said.

“We would like feedback as well. And on social media. So if parents could reach back on Twitter or Facebook with the hashtag #startwithartpgh, it helps us track what pieces were received well and how to further improve this program.”

For more information, visit www.startwithartpgh.org.

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Next Pittsburgh Features 2014 Crusade Engagement Grant Program

Deanna Lee
January 21, 2015

Every year, thousands of parents walk out of Pittsburgh hospitals with their newborn babies. Many are anxious. Most are sleep deprived. And they’re all armed with diapers, blankets, instructions, and plenty to worry about.

This year, some of these parents will leave with something else, something unexpected: their baby’s first original work of art.

Matthew Conboy, an artist and professor of media arts at Robert Morris University, is responsible for helping the babies born this year at St. Clair Hospital and The Pittsburgh Midwife Center become the world’s youngest art collectors.

His project is entitled Start With Art: PGH, and its funding was secured thanks to a $10,000 grant from the nonprofit organization, Crusade for Art. The grant is awarded annually to “unique, approachable programs that bring new audiences to photography” and this audience is about as new as it gets.

After winning the grant for his unique vision, Matthew selected 12 artists—one for each month—to contribute to the project. Every day in 2015, the “goodie bags” that are sent home with parents and their newborns will include an original photograph from that month’s artist. The photographs are printed small enough so that they’re easy to frame, hang on the refrigerator or place in a baby book.

The art is definitely kid-appropriate, says Matthew, but “it’s not just blue, or pink, or primary colors. We are working with renowned artists, so we thought it was important to give the babies something that represents their work.”

The photographs are indeed diverse—from landscapes and portraits to more conceptual and abstract works.

 Matthew Conboy with a new collector 

Matthew Conboy with a new collector 

So, why exactly does a baby need art? “It’s about opening new eyes up to what art can do,” says Matthew. “The value of it is looking at our surroundings, our lives and our beliefs from a different perspective. I think we all need to do that, and why not start as soon as possible?”

Start With Art: PGH is free to both the hospitals and the families who receive the photographs. Looking toward the future, Matthew’s goal is to secure more funding from local foundations, so he can help all Pittsburgh babies get their art collection started right away.

For more information on the project, as well as a full list of the 2015 artists, visit www.startwithartpgh.org.

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Click Magazine Feature on Crusade for Art

meet creative people

the crusader

Jennifer Schwartz drove a movement to bring art to the people, to make everyone a collector of photographic fine art. With a new book out, a successful CSA for photography under way, and noble goals for her non- profit organization, Jennifer is a force for progress. by lorna gentry 

Ever since Jennifer Schwartz got involved in the business of fine art photography, she has relentlessly challenged the status quo. First she employed creative tactics in engaging the com- munity inside and outside her gallery in Atlanta and connecting established collectors with emerging photographers. And as a gallerist, she tirelessly championed photography in innovative — some would say provocative — ways to motivate non-collectors to collect. Then she created Crusade for Art, a non-profit organization whose mission is to educate, mentor and inspire photographers, and to bring new audiences to art. Next, she bought a 1977 VW bus and took to the road for three months in 2013 to launch pop-up art crusades in cities across the country. When she returned to Atlanta she closed her bricks-and-mortar gallery and opened a home office to run the nonprofit, which sponsors an annual $10,000 grant (See sidebar, “Photography as Birthright,” page 38) and operates a subscription-based, community supported art program (modeled on the established community supported agricultural programs).

The idea of co-opting this model — down to its acronym, CSA — originated in Minnesota about five years ago and operates in some 40 cities nationwide. The fees and number of subscriptions vary among those CSAs; Jennifer charges $400 per share and caps the number of subscriptions at 50. Money from the shares pays the artists, who create works in editions limited to the number of subscribers. Jennifer’s CSA is the first to be exclusively for photography, and unlike other CSAs, the artists live in different U.S. cities and shareholders are international.

At the outset, “We commissioned six photographers to create an original photographic piece in an edition of 50,” says Jennifer, who then shipped the works to the shareholders bimonthly over six months. “Shareholders could see who the artists were by visiting their websites, but they didn’t know what the art would be. I was hoping we’d sell out in two weeks, but we sold out in two days!”

Jennifer chose a mix of emerging and mid-career photographers who have either gallery representation or their own collectors. She looked for artists who make “diverse and accessible art that people will want to hang on their walls,” she says. “I didn’t give them any guidelines, other than the fact they couldn’t show the work until it had shipped. For the shareholders, particularly new collectors, the CSA offers a great price point to acquire art. Some shareholders are established collectors and others live in condos and are excited to get art on their walls at a price they can afford.”

Life beyond the pale

Jennifer, a native of Virginia, and her husband, Michael, have three children. She has a degree in psychology and a master’s in counseling and for a while worked as an elementary school counselor. But after photographing her children and other people’s kids, she quit counseling to open a studio, which was spacious enough to house a gallery. “I had no idea how to run a gallery,” she says rolling her eyes. “I’d never tried to get my own work in a gallery, and I’d never worked in one. But coming at the fine art world from a neutral perspective, I could think outside the box and not do things the way they’d always been done.”

Unorthodox best describes Jennifer’s methods, like the 2013 cross-country art tour in her vintage bus. The idea was to create demand for the work of the emerging photographers by engaging passers-by, giving them free photographs, and asking them to consider collecting art. Photographers in each city on the tour joined her at the pop-up exhibitions to talk about their work with viewers. Jennifer also gave talks about the need to be creative in the selling of art. Photographers she met were hungry for such advice, which was the inspiration for her book, Crusade for Your Art (Crusade Press, 2014). A guide to navigating the world of fine art photography, the book includes contributions from editors, gallerists, curators and photographers.

Crusading for any cause can tap one’s energy, and Jennifer readily admits the tour was grueling. “It was guerilla style and kind of crazy to pull people off the street and say, ‘Here is art. Meet the artist. See what resonates with you.’” Sometimes it just didn’t work; when it did, though, it changed people. She remembers a young woman having an a-ha! moment about art when she connected to a piece at a pop-up show in Washington, D.C. “Once that happens, how could you ever go to Ikea and buy art because it matches your throw pillows?”  

(Sidebar) Photography as Birthright 

Last September photographer Matthew Conboy of Pittsburgh was the first to be awarded the $10,000 Crusade for Art Engagement Grant for his idea on building an audience for fine art photography. One of 10 semi- finalists in North America, Matthew proposed placing a photograph in every cradle, thus making newborns instant art collectors.

Matthew plans to work with West Penn Hospital in Pittsburgh, where the more than 3,000 babies born annually represent a socioeconomic cross section of the city’s population. Into each of the hospital’s complementary new mother goody bags (formula and diapers and such), Matthew will tuck an original signed photograph by a local emerging photographer.

One of the grant judges, Karen Irvine, curator and associate director of Chicago’s Museum of Contemporary Photography, said Matthew’s idea “will engage an extremely diverse audience, one that is for the most part probably not already circulating in the fine art realm.” The panel of judges also included Whitney Johnson, director of photography at The New Yorker, and Rupert Jenkins, executive director of Colorado Photographic Arts Center. 

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Elizabeth Avedon Names Crusade For Your Art One of the Best Photography Books of 2014

“In Crusade For Your Art, Jennifer Schwartz has written one of the most comprehensive guides to date for both the professional and emerging fine art photographer to navigate the current world of Photography. With contributions from leading photography museum, gallery and photo directors, the expert advice given is instrumental in creating what every photographer needs to know to navigate the current art market. I absolutely love this guide. It covers all bases!  I whole-heartedly recommend this masterful guide to the photographic community.”–Elizabeth Avedon

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At Artfetch we are all about connecting talented artists with art collectors (both new and seasoned) through the Internet, and when we heard about what gallerist, author and founder/director of the non-profit Crusade for Art Jennifer Schwartz has been doing for these same audiences we were intrigued by her novel projects and effective solutions. Moyah Skye Sutherland, COO at Artfetch, sat down with Schwartz to learn more about her inspirations, the state of the art world in the internet age, and advice for collectors and artists.

  Amelia Morris,   Sorry I Let You Down  ,   Focal Point artist

Amelia Morris, Sorry I Let You DownFocal Point artist

Jennifer Schwartz is passionate about photography. Her interest has led to projects aimed at both helping emerging photographers find their place and market and helping collectors and would be collectors finding art that they love. After running a brick-and-mortar gallery in Atlanta, Georgia, where she showed primarily emerging photographers for 5 years, Schwartz felt that it was time for art to connect with new audiences – people who would appreciate and want art but might be put off by the traditional gallery space – so she took the art to the road. She continues to connect artists and audiences through a CSA-style scheme (“Community Supported Art” as opposed to the more familiar “Community Supported Agriculture”) and a grant for talented budding photographers. Read on to find more about her projects.

 

See the curated collection of photography and works on paper guest curated by Jennifer Schwartz.

 

The Crusade for Collecting tour was a 10-city cross-country journey with the mission to encourage new audiences to engage with art. Do you feel that your mission was successful?

In April 2013 I took this concept on the road with a special project, the Crusade for Collecting Tour. Traveling to ten cities over the course of three months in a 1977 VW bus (affectionately named Lady Blue and purchased through funds raised on Kickstarter), I staged spontaneous pop-up events to give away original, signed photographs and bring grassroots art appreciation to the streets, moving outside the traditional boundaries of the art world.

I felt that if I could give people a fun, disarming arts experience in an unexpected way—that if they had an opportunity to meet artists, learn about their work and connect to an original piece that became theirs—it may be transformative and put them on a path to loving, supporting and collecting original art.

No matter the city, the quality of interactions between the artists and the people who stopped to participate was consistent. Most people wanted to see each of the five images, listen to the story of the photograph from each photographer, and make a thoughtful, informed selection. The artists and I both received great feedback in person and through follow-ups from people who really connected. There were hugs and amazing moments on the street, and also emails, phone calls, and photos of the newly framed pieces hanging on the new collectors’ walls. These were powerful and eye-opening moments for everyone involved….

  Dorothy O’Connor,   Tornado  ,   Focal Point artist

Dorothy O’Connor, TornadoFocal Point artist

In city after city, the same lesson emerged: People value connection. A lot of established collectors buy art because of the artist’s reputation or the proven value of the piece—the art world as we know it is driven by trends and price tags, not experiences. But the status quo is not cultivating new audiences for art. To attract people who are not already connected to art, we need to provide opportunities to facilitate a personal connection between the artist, the collector and the image. The tour was one of those opportunities, and for that, I do believe it was successful.


Were certain parts of the USA more open to your mission than others? What unexpected challenges did you face?

As it turns out, it is really difficult to give away something for free…Each city was a different experience and challenge. LA was definitely the most enthusiastic crowd, but it’s just so sunny and beautiful there, I think people there are pretty happy about life anyway.

 

How did the idea for Community Supported Art come about? 

I knew about the art CSA model (there are about 40 active art CSAs in the US, an idea that was first launched by Minnesota’s Springboard for the Arts) and felt photography was a perfect medium for it. I also felt strongly about doing it through Crusade for Art to show a model that benefits artists as well as collectors and is easily replicable. It works like this:  We offered 50 shares to the public for $350 per share and commissioned six photographers to create an original piece in an edition of 50. Shareholders receive one photograph from each photographer over the course of six months.

  Shane Lavalette,   Ready to Roll  ,   CSA artist

Shane Lavalette, Ready to RollCSA artist

I selected six photographers who are dedicated to their art practice and whose work is consistently strong. They were given free reign on the creation of their piece, although I did encourage them to make something that was very much in line with the rest of their work but also accessible to a wide audience. Each photographer receives $2000 to create their piece, and Crusade for Art handles all of the packaging and shipping. They also get 50 new collectors! Shareholders get six original, signed photographs at an affordable price, plus the fun of a surprise (2 photographs) in the mail every other month.


Do you have a few words of advice for people who want to get started collecting art?

Buy what you love, and you cannot make a bad purchase. Your tastes will evolve and change with time and more exposure to art, but that is part of the experience. Start now. You won’t regret it.

  Julien Mauve,   After Lights Out  ,   Focal Point artist

Julien Mauve, After Lights OutFocal Point artist

And for artists who want to get their work out there?

Think about your target audience and how to reach them. Who will most appreciate and want to buy your work? What does that person look like, care about, do in the world? What connections points do you already have to that person, and what obstacles do you have to get around to reach that person? Figuring that out gets you most of the way there.

 

Inspired? Get collecting right here on Artfetch. See the curated collection of photography and works on paper guest curated by Jennifer Schwartz.

© Artfetch 2014

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New $10K Grant Will Send Newborn Babies Home From Hospital As Photo Collectors
September 15, 2014

A new $10,000 grant to support programs that engage new audiences with photography has been awarded to Pittsburgh photographer Matthew Conboy. The photographer won the grant, which was established by the non-profit Crusade for Art, for a proposal to send newborn babies at West Penn Hospital in Pittsburgh home with signed prints from local photographers.

Conboy took his inspiration for the project from a program created by a local hospital. There, they send each newborn home with a “Terrible Towel,” the yellow towel waved by fans at Pittsburgh Steelers NFL football games.

“While I am a proud Steelers Fan, I believe that babies could be sent home with something else that could change their lives and the lives of those around them: art,” Conboy wrote in his proposal.

The jury that awarded Conboy the grant included Museum of Contemporary Photography curator Karen Irvine, Colorado Photographic Arts Center executive director Rupert Jenkins, and New Yorker photo director Whitney Johnson.

Irvine and Crusade For Art executive director Jennifer Schwartz hailed the creativity of Conboy’s idea in a press release announcing the award. “We are excited to award this grant to someone whose idea feels completely original and unique,” Irvine said.

Conboy chose 12 local photographers—including himself—to participate in the program. Their work represents a broad spectrum of photographic interests. The program will run for one year, and Conboy estimates the group of artists will send 3500 newborn babies home with an original artwork. He also hopes to expand the project to include other hospitals in the region “and beyond,” he says.

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'Crusade for Art' Is On a Mission to Connect Emerging Photographers with Art Buyers by Lindsay Comstock |  July 10, 2014

In a time when being an artist is at once a fleeting concept (due to competition from an increasing number of artists and less government support for the arts) and one full of potential (due to increasing opportunities made possible by social media), where does one begin to fund a project? Jennifer Schwartz of Crusade for Art is on a mission, trying to piece together the puzzle by connecting emerging photographers with collectors and galleries — one art CSA at a time – as well as providing grant opportunities for new projects.

As part of our partnership with Squarespace, where we interview creatives in the photography world who are using their templates, we caught up with the gallerist-turned-arts-evangelist who told us why now is the time for art and what we can do to protect it.

Read the interview here.

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      101 Photo Industry Professionals You Should Follow on Twitter by Alison Zavos
April 21, 2014  Want to keep up with what’s happening in the photo industry? Then this list is for you. We were planning to stop at 50, but before we knew it we ended up with a whopping 101 photo professionals that we think have the most engaging Twitter feeds out there.  We’ve included feeds that are informative, entertaining, and most importantly that offer us a window into the interests and inspirations of some of the most creative people in the photo world. Whether at the pinnacle of their careers or just starting out, the overriding common thread of those that made the list is that they all share a passion for photography and want to share their knowledge and findings with their followers.   Click here  for the full article and list ( @crusade4art  is #65!)      

  
     
    
       
        
           
        
           
                
           
        
           
        

        
         
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101 Photo Industry Professionals You Should Follow on Twitterby Alison Zavos April 21, 2014

Want to keep up with what’s happening in the photo industry? Then this list is for you. We were planning to stop at 50, but before we knew it we ended up with a whopping 101 photo professionals that we think have the most engaging Twitter feeds out there.

We’ve included feeds that are informative, entertaining, and most importantly that offer us a window into the interests and inspirations of some of the most creative people in the photo world. Whether at the pinnacle of their careers or just starting out, the overriding common thread of those that made the list is that they all share a passion for photography and want to share their knowledge and findings with their followers.

Click here for the full article and list (@crusade4art is #65!)

Screen Shot 2014-04-29 at 10.11.55 PM
Screen Shot 2014-04-29 at 10.11.55 PM

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      Jennifer Schwartz and the Crusade Engagement Grant  by Aline Smithson March 20, 2014  With the April 1st deadline on the horizon, I thought it was time to check in with Jennifer Schwartz to find out more about  The Crusade Engagement Grant . It’s a unique approach to grant giving and inspires photographers to consider taking the reigns of their own trajectory and inspires out-of-the-box thinking.  As Jennifer states, “Prodigious effort is going into programs and initiatives that create supply – opportunities to educate artists and help them create and exhibit work – which is resulting in a dramatic increase in the number of fine art photographers and huge volumes of their art. Little support focuses on creating a demand for this art. Demand is not keeping up with supply, and if not corrected, will create a huge imbalance where there is an abundance of art but no audience for it. Crusade for Art is dedicated to cultivating demand for art.”  The Crusade Engagement Grant looks really exciting. How did the idea come about?  Crusade for Art is about creating demand for art, specifically fine art photography. Last year I drove around the country in a VW bus for the  Crusade for Collecting Tour  – a crazy idea I had to build new audiences for photography. I gave talks in almost all of the ten cities I visited, and after I would finish, several people would always come up to me and say that no one else was talking about how to connect people to their art. Now I don’t know if this is true, but it was true enough. And how could this be? We talk so much about making the art, but what about building collectors and connecting to audiences? Isn’t that a huge reason we make art in the first place?  As I was driving around the country (slowly, since driving above 50mph was not recommended for this particularly temperamental vehicle), I thought about how to get a lot of photographers thinking about cultivating demand for art. It’s a tough nut to crack, but I thought if we could get our creative force – our artists – behind this problem, we may have a decent chance at creating real systemic change that would benefit the entire arts ecology. More art lovers, more art collectors, more thriving artists, more stable galleries, more supported museums. . . a win for everyone.  So how to get a large volume of photographers to brainstorm? Offer them a lot of money. It seemed simple enough, and hopefully it will work. We are looking for projects that focus on creating demand for photography and provide a concrete plan to create one-to-one connections between the photographer, the viewer, and the audience. So start thinking people! Ten thousand dollars is a nice chunk of change for being creative and doing something to make the art world a more viable place for everyone.  Are you going to share the winning idea with the world?  We will absolutely share the winning idea. The Crusade Engagement Grant will be awarded to an individual photographer or group of photographers with the most innovative plan for increasing their audience and collector base. The unrestricted grant is created both to generate and highlight these innovations, and to underwrite the execution of the best idea. The top ideas may inspire other artists to create their own. I have gotten a lot of feedback like this: “It’s just a very different type of “application” and project focus, which as artists, we don’t always think about.”  Which is the point. Many of the applications so far have been photographers submitting artist statements, not a project idea or plan to engage people with their work. It seems to be stumping people and making them think about creating demand for their work for possibly the first time – which is exactly what we’re trying to do.  You, yourself, have been hard at work finding new ways to connect with an audience over the years–your programs Crusade for Collecting and The Ten were innovations on connecting with a bigger audience. Can you share your experience with that?  I am passionate about finding audiences for photography, and that interest started when I opened Jennifer Schwartz Gallery five years ago (the gallery closed at the end of 2013, so I could run the non-profit full time). I hung photographs on the wall, opened the doors, and then said to myself, “Where is everyone?” And the people who did come, weren’t necessarily the people I wanted. I needed buyers, and I needed to figure out how to find them. I thought a lot about who exactly I was trying to attract to the gallery and how to get them there. I began developing programs like  Walk Away With Art ,  ArtFeast ,  Art Circle , and others to get new people in Atlanta excited about photography, and specifically the photographers I was showing. Eventually, I wanted to engage new audiences beyond Atlanta, which is what prompted the  Crusade for Collecting Tour  and The Ten project.     What propelled you to close your gallery doors and become a not-for-profit entity?  The ideas, successes, and experiences of Jennifer Schwartz Gallery, The Ten, and the Crusade for Collecting Tour have informed the mission and direction of Crusade for Art. Ultimately, I felt I could make a larger impact by focusing full-time on the non-profit. I have been able to take the parts of the gallery I most enjoyed – promoting and developing the careers of photographers and creating programs to cultivate collectors – and establish an organization whose mission is dedicated to those very things.  I can only imagine what else you have up your sleeve…anything you’d care to share?  We just published a book,  Crusade For Your Art: Best Practices for Fine Art Photographers , an accessible guide to help photographers navigate and demystify the fine art photography world. It’s an exciting resource, with contributions from more than 25 industry leaders. All of the proceeds go to Crusade for Art, so you can get some knowledge and help fund our programming!

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Jennifer Schwartz and the Crusade Engagement Grant by Aline Smithson March 20, 2014

With the April 1st deadline on the horizon, I thought it was time to check in with Jennifer Schwartz to find out more about The Crusade Engagement Grant. It’s a unique approach to grant giving and inspires photographers to consider taking the reigns of their own trajectory and inspires out-of-the-box thinking.

As Jennifer states, “Prodigious effort is going into programs and initiatives that create supply – opportunities to educate artists and help them create and exhibit work – which is resulting in a dramatic increase in the number of fine art photographers and huge volumes of their art. Little support focuses on creating a demand for this art. Demand is not keeping up with supply, and if not corrected, will create a huge imbalance where there is an abundance of art but no audience for it. Crusade for Art is dedicated to cultivating demand for art.”

The Crusade Engagement Grant looks really exciting. How did the idea come about?

Crusade for Art is about creating demand for art, specifically fine art photography. Last year I drove around the country in a VW bus for the Crusade for Collecting Tour – a crazy idea I had to build new audiences for photography. I gave talks in almost all of the ten cities I visited, and after I would finish, several people would always come up to me and say that no one else was talking about how to connect people to their art. Now I don’t know if this is true, but it was true enough. And how could this be? We talk so much about making the art, but what about building collectors and connecting to audiences? Isn’t that a huge reason we make art in the first place?

As I was driving around the country (slowly, since driving above 50mph was not recommended for this particularly temperamental vehicle), I thought about how to get a lot of photographers thinking about cultivating demand for art. It’s a tough nut to crack, but I thought if we could get our creative force – our artists – behind this problem, we may have a decent chance at creating real systemic change that would benefit the entire arts ecology. More art lovers, more art collectors, more thriving artists, more stable galleries, more supported museums. . . a win for everyone.

So how to get a large volume of photographers to brainstorm? Offer them a lot of money. It seemed simple enough, and hopefully it will work. We are looking for projects that focus on creating demand for photography and provide a concrete plan to create one-to-one connections between the photographer, the viewer, and the audience. So start thinking people! Ten thousand dollars is a nice chunk of change for being creative and doing something to make the art world a more viable place for everyone.

Are you going to share the winning idea with the world?

We will absolutely share the winning idea. The Crusade Engagement Grant will be awarded to an individual photographer or group of photographers with the most innovative plan for increasing their audience and collector base. The unrestricted grant is created both to generate and highlight these innovations, and to underwrite the execution of the best idea. The top ideas may inspire other artists to create their own. I have gotten a lot of feedback like this: “It’s just a very different type of “application” and project focus, which as artists, we don’t always think about.”

Which is the point. Many of the applications so far have been photographers submitting artist statements, not a project idea or plan to engage people with their work. It seems to be stumping people and making them think about creating demand for their work for possibly the first time – which is exactly what we’re trying to do.

You, yourself, have been hard at work finding new ways to connect with an audience over the years–your programs Crusade for Collecting and The Ten were innovations on connecting with a bigger audience. Can you share your experience with that?

I am passionate about finding audiences for photography, and that interest started when I opened Jennifer Schwartz Gallery five years ago (the gallery closed at the end of 2013, so I could run the non-profit full time). I hung photographs on the wall, opened the doors, and then said to myself, “Where is everyone?” And the people who did come, weren’t necessarily the people I wanted. I needed buyers, and I needed to figure out how to find them. I thought a lot about who exactly I was trying to attract to the gallery and how to get them there. I began developing programs like Walk Away With ArtArtFeastArt Circle, and others to get new people in Atlanta excited about photography, and specifically the photographers I was showing. Eventually, I wanted to engage new audiences beyond Atlanta, which is what prompted the Crusade for Collecting Tour and The Ten project.

What propelled you to close your gallery doors and become a not-for-profit entity?

The ideas, successes, and experiences of Jennifer Schwartz Gallery, The Ten, and the Crusade for Collecting Tour have informed the mission and direction of Crusade for Art. Ultimately, I felt I could make a larger impact by focusing full-time on the non-profit. I have been able to take the parts of the gallery I most enjoyed – promoting and developing the careers of photographers and creating programs to cultivate collectors – and establish an organization whose mission is dedicated to those very things.

I can only imagine what else you have up your sleeve…anything you’d care to share?

We just published a book, Crusade For Your Art: Best Practices for Fine Art Photographers, an accessible guide to help photographers navigate and demystify the fine art photography world. It’s an exciting resource, with contributions from more than 25 industry leaders. All of the proceeds go to Crusade for Art, so you can get some knowledge and help fund our programming!

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      $10,000 to Build An Audience for Your Photography  by Joseph Gamble March 4, 2014  Atlanta-based Jennifer Schwartz, creator of  Crusade for Art , wants to help fine art photographers build and grow their audience. To that end, Schwartz, whose bicoastal Crusade for Collecting bus tour was  profiled in September , has launched the  Crusade Engagement Grant . The award is a $10,000 prize aimed at assisting a photographer or photo collective in building and engaging an audience.  The money is being sourced through fundraising, largely through the contributions of individual donors. Guidelines include writing a 500-word pitch and can be viewed  here . There is a $20 submission fee that covers the cost of administering the grant for the workshop.  “We tried to make this fee as low as possible (it is below average for an application fee), so that the fee would not deter people from applying, while still covering our administrative costs,” said Schwartz.  Photographers tend to view the opportunity as a means of raising capital to execute projects or offset expenses involved with exhibitions or book printing but Schwartz is quick to caution against these proposals. The grant specifically states that the jurors are “looking for the most creative and original ideas to create and foster demand for fine art photography.”  The Crusade for Engagement grant seeks to break down the barriers that often keep art from a general audience and make it inaccessible and exclusive. As the call for entries makes clear, a key to success is the development of “an aesthetic experience – one that actively involves the viewer’s senses, emotion, and intellect.”  “I have gotten a lot of feedback like this ‑  ’It’s just a very different type of application and project focus, which as artists, we don’t always think about,’” said Schwartz. “It seems to be stumping people and making them think about creating demand for their work for possibly the first time – which is exactly what we’re trying to do.”  Schwartz, who directs the non-profit Crusade for Art, and the assistant director will do the initial screening of applicants. Five to ten finalists will then submit a larger application that will be reviewed by a selection committee of three. These photographic industry leaders will select the grant award recipient based on “the proposed project’s creativity, originality, and probability for success as well as the applicant’s credibility and references.”  Committee members are Whitney Johnson, Director of Photography at  The New Yorker , Karen Irvine, Curator and Associate Director at Museum of Contemporary Photography, Rupert Jenkins, Executive Director at Colorado Photographic Arts Center.  “It was very important to us that the selection committee be made up of industry people who were forward-thinking, open-minded, and had an interest in photographers at all levels,” said Schwartz. “These three are also geographically diverse, which I think is beneficial as well.”  You can learn more about Jennifer’s Crusade for Art as well as the grant online  here . Applications are due on April 1 with finalists announced on May 15, 2014.

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$10,000 to Build An Audience for Your Photography by Joseph Gamble March 4, 2014

Atlanta-based Jennifer Schwartz, creator of Crusade for Art, wants to help fine art photographers build and grow their audience. To that end, Schwartz, whose bicoastal Crusade for Collecting bus tour was profiled in September, has launched the Crusade Engagement Grant. The award is a $10,000 prize aimed at assisting a photographer or photo collective in building and engaging an audience.

The money is being sourced through fundraising, largely through the contributions of individual donors. Guidelines include writing a 500-word pitch and can be viewed here. There is a $20 submission fee that covers the cost of administering the grant for the workshop.

“We tried to make this fee as low as possible (it is below average for an application fee), so that the fee would not deter people from applying, while still covering our administrative costs,” said Schwartz.

Photographers tend to view the opportunity as a means of raising capital to execute projects or offset expenses involved with exhibitions or book printing but Schwartz is quick to caution against these proposals. The grant specifically states that the jurors are “looking for the most creative and original ideas to create and foster demand for fine art photography.”

The Crusade for Engagement grant seeks to break down the barriers that often keep art from a general audience and make it inaccessible and exclusive. As the call for entries makes clear, a key to success is the development of “an aesthetic experience – one that actively involves the viewer’s senses, emotion, and intellect.”

“I have gotten a lot of feedback like this ‑  ’It’s just a very different type of application and project focus, which as artists, we don’t always think about,’” said Schwartz. “It seems to be stumping people and making them think about creating demand for their work for possibly the first time – which is exactly what we’re trying to do.”

Schwartz, who directs the non-profit Crusade for Art, and the assistant director will do the initial screening of applicants. Five to ten finalists will then submit a larger application that will be reviewed by a selection committee of three. These photographic industry leaders will select the grant award recipient based on “the proposed project’s creativity, originality, and probability for success as well as the applicant’s credibility and references.”  Committee members are Whitney Johnson, Director of Photography at The New Yorker, Karen Irvine, Curator and Associate Director at Museum of Contemporary Photography, Rupert Jenkins, Executive Director at Colorado Photographic Arts Center.

“It was very important to us that the selection committee be made up of industry people who were forward-thinking, open-minded, and had an interest in photographers at all levels,” said Schwartz. “These three are also geographically diverse, which I think is beneficial as well.”

You can learn more about Jennifer’s Crusade for Art as well as the grant online here. Applications are due on April 1 with finalists announced on May 15, 2014.

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Oitenta Mundos (80 Worlds)

Interview by Júlio Boaventura, Jr. published March 2, 2014

On February 18th, the American Jennifer Schwartz told us about her career as a photographer, gallery owner, consultant, and her current projects and dedication to stimulate the demand for art. (click here to read the interview)

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One Hour Photo Show: Talkin' About $10K

One Hour Photo
One Hour Photo

Yesterday I co-hosted the One Hour Photo Show with Anderson Smith, which I LOVED, since my not-so-secret dream job is to be a talk radio host.  We had a great time, and spent a lot of the hour talking about the Crusade Engagement Grant and what we are looking for in a project proposal.  We also discussed the best practices book, Crusade For Your Art, that will be coming out in a couple of weeks, and some of the gems of info you will find inside. So take a listen here!

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