On October 21, 2010, hundreds of artists descended on Rush Arts Gallery in Chelsea to celebrate the opening of Curate NYC, a new online arts showcase and multi-venue juried exhibition for New York City visual artists.
Almost 1,200 artists responded to the call-for-submissions and uploaded their work to the project website. A panel of top curators then picked 150 entries to be reproduced and exhibited as 5x6" postcards. Visit www.curatenyc.org to see all the art, including the works chosen for exhibition.
Curate NYC exhibitions are being held October 21-31 at Rush Arts Gallery in Chelsea, the Essex Street Market on the Lower East Side, La Marqueta Open Plaza in East Harlem, and the Richmond County Bank Ballpark at St. George on Staten Island. The website will live on as a free public platform for all participating artists.
Curate NYC's unique structure is the idea of musician/marketing strategist Brian Tate and artist/gallery owner/philanthropist Danny Simmons. Their nonprofit arts organization, Full Spectrum Experience, Inc., won a competitive bid issued by the New York City Economic Development Corporation (EDC) to develop and produce Curate NYC.
"We partnered with EDC around a shared goal to champion New York City artists," said Tate, "and we designed the project so that every applicant comes out a winner. A team of expert curators reviewed every entry, and the website will now become a permanent resource for curators, gallery owners, art critics and art lovers everywhere to discover New York City's rich pool of talent. This kind of strategic exposure is rare and vital for artists seeking to advance their careers."
All 1,200 Curate NYC applicants were invited to the opening, making for a packed house. "These numbers are overwhelming," said Danny Simmons. "
We had to split up these guys, with half the artists arriving at 6:30 p.m. and the other half at 7:30 p.m. The response shows that the arts community is thrilled for this platform and for the opportunity to come together. It also shows the power of Curate NYC to enhance the city's reputation as a cultural hub."
EDC President Seth W. Pinsky says,
"Curate NYC is a win-win for New York City's artists and residents. By facilitating their exposure to top curators and the public, we will help artists successfully enter the city's competitive art market. Meanwhile, by holding art exhibits in underutilized venues, we will give New Yorkers a chance to enjoy more of the City's thriving arts scene. Supporting creative industries like the arts is key to growing our economy and enhancing quality of life for all New Yorkers."
Performance artist Judith Sloan, a publicist for Curate NYC, told me in an interview that an important aspect of this project is that the website now provides a "home" for hundreds of working artists in various states of emergence and re-emergence. Each entry displays an artist's work, bio, and web links, helping build a community that can spark new collaborations and support far beyond the exhibitions.
The Curate NYC website is dedicated to the memory of painter Paul Jansen, an alumnus of the Full Spectrum panel discussion series and the former artist-in-residence for Jimi Hendrix's Electric Lady Studios. "Paul's long career as a gifted working artist, elevated by media attention only once he was diagnosed with incurable cancer, points to the larger quandary of defining 'emerging artist,' said Simmons.
"At what point has an artist arrived? When they no longer fight for shows, sales, and recognition? Like many, Paul passed early, still emerging and still creating, with more to do ahead. We think he would have supported the boost that Curate NYC is meant to provide."
Simmons and Tate hope that Curate NYC becomes as successful as their past projects like the Bridge Culture Festival, the Brooklyn New Music Festival, and the Project Diversity exhibitions, which have helped build a growing community of artists and audiences that supports new initiatives like Curate NYC.
"We're glad to partner with EDC on this latest project," said Tate. "We have a common goal to make a difference for New York City's arts community and cultural economy. Hopefully Curate NYC will help advance the careers of many emerging artists."