by Danna Rooth

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In conjunction with the pilot residency, a proposal was developed for an exhibition that since has been pitched around town and, although a venue for this show has yet to be found, here’s a preview.

HONORABLE MENTION is a group show featuring participants of Make Studio (Baltimore, MD) as both artists and co-curators of work that reveals local experience and visual responses to stereotypes. Make Studio aims for inclusivity and is based on the belief that providing avenues for communication, connection, and empowerment equally benefits individuals and the community. People working at Make Studio explore the paradoxically novel and familiar aesthetics and concerns of artists commonly typed as “outsiders”. To produce this exhibition, participating artists will create new work and co-curate preexisting pieces that are conceptually relevant and further engage the show’s central themes of local experience, stereotypes, and identification within specific subcultural groups. Art-making and curatorial decision-making will occur within a creative community hosted in the studio setting, rather than independently, with the objective of extending individual approaches to art practice, audience responses, and preconceived notions about the role of “artist”. HONORABLE MENTION will include works that utilize available cultural (symbols, stereotypes, icons, celebrity) and material surplus (donated craft supplies, recycled items, thrift store finds). Aesthetic agendas initiated by Make Studio’s artists and project participants will be advanced based on their specific creative points of view and preferences.

HONORABLE MENTION makes visible the observations of a neuro-diverse group of artists that are concerned with exploring place, cultural tropes, and social justice issues through art practice. The privileged role of curator will be distributed amongst Make Studio’s artists’ to further their utilization of visual art as a conduit for personal expression, interpersonal connectivity, and civic engagement. The contextual realities of the gallery setting and its audience will activate the exhibition’s potential to challenge conventional definitions of “outsider art” and possibilities for a more expansive model of creative and local communities. Presenting works from artists with and without disabilities, HONORABLE MENTION addresses the potential transcendence or perpetuation of social labels and marginalization that lies in what we both can and can not see.

So, know a great gallery in or near Baltimore that would love this idea?! Let us know.

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