Artfront Galleries was recently asked to summarize ourselves in a few sentences. Pretty tough to do. However, it was a good exercise to center ourselves as we approach the craziness of producing 12 galleries in the next 30 days. Here is a summary of what we said.
Artfront Galleries draws our inspiration from Eric S. Raymond’s The Cathedral and The Bazaar, the 1863 Salon des Refuses, and Jane Jacobs’ The Death and Life of Great American Cities. As happens in many American cities the established power centers in Newark have defined the official “arts district”. In turn, these same power centers allocate the limited wall space to a small cadre of “safe” artists . Unfortunately, like other cities, Newark also has a significant inventory of vacant spaces outside the central core.
The Artfront Galleries’ blueprint begins with persuading landlords in depressed neighborhoods to loan us their empty spaces for at least 30 days. After establishing a theme for the upcoming gallery, we then put out an open call for artists through social media. Every effort is made to provide 70% of the opportunity to new, local artists. The other 30% is allocated to artists outside the immediate area in hopes of drawing their following to Newark to see the city’s potential. The landlord wins by showing their space activated to potential renters/buyers. The pedestrian traffic visiting the gallery is a win for the neighborhood with decreased crime rates and increased commerce for local businesses. Local residents have access to enriching cultural experiences Perhaps, most importantly, talented artists who have not been selected by the “salon” have opportunity to show and sell their work.