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Atlanta Gallery Owner Takes New Focus to Promote Photography by Howard Pousner December 22, 2013

Jennifer Schwartz has shown herself to be an out-of-the-box thinker since opening her self-named gallery in 2009.

Then she literally got out of the box, closing her Westside space last year in favor of pop-up shows and, most ambitiously, undertaking a tour to 10 American cities in a VW bus-turned-gallery on wheels this spring. The idea of the Kickstarter-funded Crusade for Collecting Tour was to recruit a new generation of art collectors by taking the photography to them rather than waiting inside a bricks-and-mortar space hoping someone might visit.

Now Schwartz is on to a new photography crusade. She has announced that she is shutting down operations of the for-profit Jennifer Schwartz Gallery by the end of the year and launching a non-profit, Crusade for Art.

AJC
AJC

Its mission, according to a recent announcement: “to build artists’ capacity to create demand for their work.”

Schwartz said the Crusade for Art will take a two-pronged approach: mentoring photographers to achieve higher levels of creative and professional development; and “incubating” solutions to connect them with audiences.

Crusade for Art’s programs will include:

  • Crusade Engagement Grant, an annual $10,000 award that will be given to an individual artist or artist group with the most innovative plan for increasing his/their audience and collector support. Applications are to open in March.
  • A CSA (Crusade Supported Art program), modeled on agricultural CSAs and similar to WonderRoot’s successful art CSA program. Fifty “shareholders” will invest $350 each to commission six photographers to create an image in editions of 50. Shareholders will receive two original, signed photographs in the mail three times yearly.
  • Fee-base mentoring as well as six-month mentorship programs awarded to 10 photographers per year through a competitive application process.
  • Crusade chapters being established in cities including Chicago, Pittsburgh and Portland, Ore.

“I will still be doing my favorite things — working with photographers and developing programs to create demand for art — in this new venture,” Schwartz told the AJC, “but I will miss working one on one with new collectors.”

She expects individual donations to fuel the non-profit’s launch and plans to solicit corporate donations and grants. While she awaits official 501c(3) status declaration from the IRS, the crusade is able to accept donations through fiscal sponsor New York Foundation for the Arts. To find out more: www.crusadeforart.org.

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