Big news! Downtown Pittsburgh will be jumping this September, with the opening of the first Re/New Festival featuring the North American premiere of DRAP-Art, the International Festival of Recycling Art, held annually in Barcelona, Spain. According to their website “Drap-Art has established itself in recent years as a showcase of the trends in art that use objets trouvés and discarded materials as a resource. It has become a platform for emerging artists, designers, craftsmen, and other creative professionals from Europe and elsewhere who seek trash as their raw materials. From these premises, it functions as a campaign to make people aware of the fact that we must consume more responsibly and respect the theme of the three Rs (reduce, reuse and recycle).”
I recently attended a meeting at the Neu Kirche Center on the Northside to learn all about it. Jen Saffron, Greater Pittsburgh Arts Council (GPAC), and Russell Howard, Downtown Pittsburgh Partnership, alongside festival director Carin Mincemoyer gave an outline of how artists and organizations can participate.
So why Pittsburgh? “Pittsburgh is undergoing a transformation and is a city of renewal; the question is how to tap into that?” Russell explained. Recycling and reclamation are central themes of the festival. By using art as the catalyst to examine the complexities we face, they hope to inspire and provoke conversation. DRAP-Art will include local and national exhibitions, film, performance, a marketplace, workshops, and demos.
The festival will intersect with Mayor Peduto’s 200th anniversary celebration of Pittsburgh, activating the downtown scene in three central areas. Many partners have already signed on: Downtown Pittsburgh Partnership, The Carnegie Museum, Sustainable Pittsburgh, Pittsburgh Cultural Trust, The Andy Warhol Museum, Allegheny Conference on Community Development, Visit Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania Resources Council, and GPAC to start. GPAC will be working with Visit Pittsburgh to spread the word and market the event throughout the region.
So how can we get involved? There will be a juried art exhibition along with special art projects and programming opportunities. The work must incorporate the theme of renewal, sustainability, recycling or transformation. Artists and organizations can apply to be vendors or sponsors of the event. Additionally there will be many, many volunteer opportunities to help stage this massive effort, details to be announced.
The juried call for entry will showcase regional artists (areas included are the same as those used in the Pittsburgh artist registry.) All skill levels are welcome but the work must address the theme. There will be a panel of three jurors: Eric Crosby, Richard Armstrong Curator of Modern and Contemporary Art at the Carnegie Museum of Art; DS Kinsel, Artist / Co-Founder of BOOM Concepts; and Kilolo Luckett, art historian, cultural producer, and writer. The deadline for entry is May 31st but the earlier you enter the better since entries are limited to 300. Once that number is reached, no more will be accepted.
There is a national call for entry for a social engagement proposal “whatever crazy idea you have.” Consider entering with a maximum $3,000 budget available. Deadline May 31st in addition to the art project and program proposals, also with a max $3,000 budget.
Although the festival will be centered downtown, a community events calendar of activities in satellite locations will invite attendees to explore the area in search of engaging, entertaining, and provocative events.
Be sure to checkout the website for more details. This is your opportunity to pitch that crazy idea — but remember you must stay true to the theme of recycling, reformation and sustainability.
Special thanks to the Neu Kirche Center for hosting the meeting. If this is the first you’ve heard about this group, it is a contemporary gallery space, home to an art residency program and studios plus an outdoor public art space, Fallow Ground. Next time you’re on the Northside be sure to check it out.