Friday, October 21, 2011

Hyperallergic! Born this Way! Actual Artists Seen Within!

Dahlia Elsayed studio, from Hyperallergic

I was at a breakfast yesterday for arts and cultural organizations and Essex County elected officials at the Newark Museum's (awesome) Ballantine Room. I fear, and hate to think that I may have sounded as if I was being sarcastic, but with total and naked sincerity, I invited everyone to come to the gallery tomorrow, Saturday October 22, from 11-6 to meet the resident artists. Actual, living artists, who come in various genders, color, sizes, ages and temperments. Who have bills, jobs, sometimes kids, who drink the same coffee as other folks, drive the same roads...So now I may be being a bit sarcastic, but my point is that while sometimes being an artist means veering wildly off other life trajectories or otherwise being "different", we are not some tribe apart, and that a good place to start arts planning would be talking with some artists about Newark, and their experiences of the city. I mean this with total sincerity. Part of the values behind our education offerings at Aferro such as tours and Identity Blueprint are to demystify "what an artist looks like," and hopefully model that an artist can look like anyone. The residency is urban and open 24/7 to help make it accessible to all kinds of people, all kinds of people who are artists.

As with many issues, many of us begin to care about the arts either because we are artists (duh), or because we have kids who are creative. Many Gallery Aferro supporters have told me that they invest in the arts, volunteer, etc because their kids may end up growing up to be artists. A wonderful NJVLA lawyer who helped Aferro years ago told me that he volunteers his services because his child's drawings are at his desk, reminding him that, um, as they say, you're born this way. Parents the world over have learned that you can discourage the kid, but more often than not, you can't take the desire out of them. They will just keep painting/drawing/etc.

Anyway, please visit the studios tomorrow. The ENTIRE BUILDING will be open from basement to the 4th floor, and there is so much to do and see. And, yes, actual live artists will be there.

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