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2014: A Year in Review

January 2, 2015

2014 was a memorable year for us at More Art. The following post is an overview of the past year. We happily welcome 2015 and we wish all of you a very prosperous and joyous year ahead! #HappyNewYear #MoreArtin2015

Beginning the year we worked closely with Andres Serrano to develop and produce a large scale public art project called Residents of New York. We accompanied Andres Serrano as he photographed Starting May 19 and running for four weeks through June 15, 2014, the project featuring humanizing portraits of NYC homeless residents in the West 4th Street Subway Station, La Guardia Plaza, and posters throughout the East and West Village. Working with Andres and the homeless community in these neighborhoods was a memorable experience. We got to know many wonderful and inspiring people, and learn so much from them about their will and perseverance through their struggles. It is important for all of us to realize that our fellow residents of New York have lives like us (jobs, families, etc) but fell on hard times. It is important to acknowledge them just as you’d say hello to your neighbor in apartment complex. To continue the dialog around homelessness that Serrano’s public art campaign began, we launched our Engaging Artists residency program. During the six-week program, our amazing artists volunteered at least a half a day per week at a local charitable organization dealing with homelessness advocacy. In order to contextualize their volunteerism, we arranged a series of workshops with experts in the disciplines of social practice, activism, and homeless advocacy. Our Engaging Artists will exhibit their work relating to their residency experiences this Spring at Hot Woods Art Center in Red Hook (more information to come soon!). Most recently, we worked with revolutionary artist Dread Scott to produce a one time only public art performance called “The Impossibility of Freedom in a Country Founded on Slavery and Genocide” engaging with the legacy of racism in the United States and pointing to the continuing struggles faced by minorities across the nation. The exhibition was powerful for everyone in attendance, especially a group of over 200 students from Brooklyn’s Gotham Professional Arts Academy High School. Dread was invited by Gotham Professional Arts Academy to talk with the student organizers at a “town hall” meeting they organized to address the recent racial tension and social injustice.

Another reason why this year was so memorable and special is that 2014 marked the 10th anniversary of More Art. We began to look back at our past programs and beginning last year we initiated a program called Art Walks. In accordance with our mission and our commitment to local communities, Art Walks explores local NYC neighborhood and their cultural roots and recent developments, as well as its current art resources and art institutions. Our 2014 walks included Red Hook in Brooklyn, where we visited past More Art collaborator Michael Joo; Bushwick, Brooklyn with past More Art collaborator Justin Berry; Meatpacking/SoHo with past collaborator Ana Gaskell; and Red Hook with our most recent collaborator Dread Scott. We also started our newest education program called Arts Ambassadors where students (juniors and seniors in local high schools) explored visual art as a socially engaged practice. You can read more about the program and the final exhibition in our previous blog post.

In honor of a decade providing engaging and meaningful public art and educational programs to the community at large, we hosted our biggest and most important benefit yet. The benefit was held on November 5th, Wednesday at Prince George, a venue that is owned and managed by Common Ground. All proceeds from the rental support Common Ground’s mission to end homelessness. In addition to the celebration we were honored to present the 2014 “Feed More Art to the World” Award to Artist Fred Wilson and Philanthropist Shelley Rubin.

That’s 2014 in brief. Once again, we’d like to wish you all a Happy New Year from the staff and board at More Art!  We are delighted to say that we are working hard on a new year of public art, education, and community engagement throughout New York City!