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Thursday, December 8, 2011

OCCUPY WALL STREET GROUP LOOKS TO OPEN ARTS SPACE


Occupy Wall Street group looks to open arts space
The movement’s Arts and Culture committee is in discussions to find a multi-purpose space to use for studios and exhibitions

By Helen Stoilas. Web only
Published online: 24 November 2011

NEW YORK. A group within the Occupy Wall Street movement is in discussions to find a multi-purpose, indoor arts space, which is to be used for “studio space, rehearsals, concerts, storage, performances, exhibitions, teach-ins, film screenings, art classes for children, sleeping, etc”, according to its website. The Arts and Culture committee of the New York City General Assembly, the protest group behind the movement, is planning to use shared office space on Wall Street with other Occupy groups, and is considering another offer from the arts blog Hyperallergic to borrow space in its Brooklyn offices, among other options.

“After the troubling Zuccotti Park eviction [of the protesters’ camp on 15 November] we were afraid that the group may not have the resources to continue their work,” says Hrag Vartanian, the editor of Hyperallergic, which has covered the protests closely since they started two months ago. “Regardless of how we might feel about specific projects or objectives of the arts and culture committee, we think what they are doing is important.” Vartanian has invited the group to use his space in Williamsburg, Brooklyn, free of charge, saying he thinks it is “in keeping with the mood of the times that those of us with resources think of ways we can share them with those who may not have the same level of access. From our perspective, the need for generosity and empathy is at the root of Occupy Wall Street.”

The group discussed the offer on 22 November, and while a consensus had been reached on moving into the shared office space on Wall Street, options for a multi-purpose arts space are still being explored.

The arts and culture committee is one of the largest groups in the Occupy Wall Street movement and has been at the heart of the protest from the outset, helping to organise actions, design puppets and posters, and create works inspired by the protesters’ ideals. A few exhibitions in public galleries have already taken place of art produced by protesters or inspired by the movement. Among these is an evolving window installation at the non-profit organisation, Printed Matter, which is set to close on 26 November, and the display “This Is What Democracy Looks Like” at NYU's Gallatin Galleries, which also closed earlier this month. The exhibition “Occupied” at the independent bookstore Bluestockings on Allen Street runs until 8 December.


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