Art, as an entity, is more than creating something beautiful and decorative. It is a way to capture the changes and transitions of life and it is a medium of communication in which communities and artists engage with one another through a universal language. This is why, once every few months, twenty-one artists from all over the world come together to create work beyond our imagination, lead by fellow practitioner – Meg Peterson.
Moving from Chicago where she participated in many art projects to encourage children and communities to express themselves through art, she launched 21 Artists in February 2013.
“The Chicago Loop, my first 21 Artist event, opened the gate to further projects in London, of which the last one took place on November 30th. The idea behind this project is to make art relevant again. We as artist make alive forgotten or rundown spaces and try to give the communities, in the areas in which we’re exhibiting, an understanding of art and the possibility to be part of its creation.
We often aspire to be in the spontaneous situation of improvisation and instantaneous creation. But the ego always bats an eye of judgment and evaluation toward these magical moments so when one can look back in hindsight and see the awesome result, it’s a very gratifying feeling.
OVERHE(a)R(e) – the next project – opens its call for featured artists in Chicago and London on the 15th of May. The call challenges the applicant to find inspiration from the urban landscape and to be open to international collaboration with artists in other cities. The project aims to broaden networks for featured artists, give new perspectives on global cities, connect communities with the arts and provide economic opportunities for those involved. Artists chosen to participate will be asked to submit an M&M (Memory and Motivation) which is something that is unique and inspires them about their city. Along with their past work that will then be sent to another artist in another participating city, forming the basis of their piece for the show.
Each artist’s easily transportable artwork will be sent to Chicago for the first round of exhibitions, workshops and events at the beginning of August. The work will then be sent to London for a second round of similar activities in alternative spaces around the city in early September.
This project provides artists across two very creative and vibrant cities an opportunity to broaden their network, hone their craft and collaborate outside of their comfort zones in unconventional ways. Its aim is to celebrate the arts while bringing life to an alternative space, engaging the public and local community groups, beautifying internal and external environments and promoting the arts across these cities.
Working closely with online arts platform, Zealous.co, to disseminate information about the project internationally, OVERHE(a)R(e) will be documented through a combination of interviews,videos, photographs and artistic renderings and will be exhibited in multiple venues including the Carnegie Library in Brixton, South London and an empty storefront space in Chicago.”
With this project Meg wants to bring artists together by letting them communicate via art, a medium of communication they are all familiar with. This kind of communication does not only extend the view of the artists but also the community which Meg wants to include. It’s an exchange of ideas beyond geographical borders. From Chicago to London and from London to Chicago: an international intermezzo where the process and the result are influenced by the place the artist originally come from and the place the artists live.
Meg Peterson has the unifying quality of bringing all these factors together. Art and community seem to be an inseparable equivalent for her. With 21 Artist she has fulfilled one of her lifelong dreams and has also created an opportunity for artists and communities to come together using art as a universal medium of communication.
Applications open on the 15th May 2014.