Saturday, November 14, 2009

A Failed Collaboration

HopeArts has been marked by exhibits where visual artists were asked to collaborate with artists working in different disciplines, with nonartists, or with a text. One of the least successful collaborative exhibits was one where we asked artists to create a piece for a hurting person, family, or institution that served people. The idea was to encourage the receiver through a piece of visual art. We asked through our email list for suggested places that would appreciate donated art, and then provided artists with a list of those and other possibilities -- the battered women’s center, the state hospital for the indigent mentally ill, a veteran’s center, nursing homes. The artist was to exhibit the piece during Lent and give it away for Easter.

We received very few works for this exhibit, and none for any institution, except the artist who cleared out his studio to give an unsold work to “whoever we thought would like it.” What went wrong? Did the artists think it was a gloomy idea to make work for a sad place or person? Did they have no relationship to such a place or person, and therefore no personal incentive? Were they embarrassed to offer work because it wasn’t skilled enough or because it was unsolicited? My best art always has always been art I made for a particular person that I loved or on a subject that I cared deeply about. Am I different from most artists or was the idea not communicated well?

Does anyone out there have an insight?

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Looking for the Lizard by Kate Van Dyke is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 United States License.
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