Presenting visual and performance art in unexpected public spaces.

AiOP 2014: FREE: Applicants Walk With the Festival Curators Across 14th Street

By Matthew Morowitz

With the deadline for the Art in Odd Places (AiOP) 2014 festival: FREE just around the corner (April 5th), curators Juliana Driever and Dylan Gauthier wanted to do more to help people who were thinking of applying understand how to relate their work to the site itself.  From 1-3 pm on Sunday March 23, 2014, the pair led a group of applicants on a walk along 14th street from the west to the east end, stopping at points along the way to discuss the use of space, restrictions, and even check out the remnants of projects from past festivals that were still standing.

The day itself was a little chilly but sunny and a little over 20 people showed up for the event, which began with a talk delivered by the curators in 14th Street Park near the Hudson River and ended with Juliana and Dylan outside of Otto’s Shrunken Head by Avenue B, answering any questions applicants came up with along the way.

Hearing from the curators after the event, Juliana found the event not only helpful for the applicants, but also a good icebreaker for AiOP:

“The experience of walking 14th Street as a way to introduce both the festival and site itself struck me as an incredibly engaging way to begin a project like Art in Odd Places. Being on 14th Street, completely immersed in the changing sensory experiences of it, helped to galvanize some insightful and productive conversations about site-responsiveness, temporary interactions with the environment, and the nature of working in public space. Open call processes can feel a bit cold, particularly if you don’t know or haven’t had access to the people making the decisions. Taking the time to speak informally over the course of an afternoon created an important social connection, which, in my view helped to bring about greater transparency for all involved at this early stage of planning.”

For Dylan, this event was a chance to renew and reinvigorate affections for 14th Street, instilling in him a greater sense of how the festival and the site relate to each other:

“I loved experiencing 14th Street again through the eyes of a small nomadic group of artists, looking for footholds and inroads in unfamiliar territory. Though I lived on the street in the early 2000s, I’d forgot in time how much mystery, magic, and even art is happening there. It’s such an amazing, evocative, and liminal site, between all of these more or less well-defined enclaves. All of those competing visions for the city playing out at once. I understand more now why it is the perfect site for this festival.”

Overall the curator’s walk had a positive and encouraging effect on the applicants, instilling within them a better understanding of the area and how to move forward with their project proposals.  Be sure to scroll down to check out more images from the walk and more views of 14th Street.


14th Street. Photo courtesy of Natasha Ballack.


14th Street. Photo courtesy of Natasha Ballack.


Applicants on 14th Street. Photo courtesy of Natasha Ballack.


14th Street. Photo courtesy of Natasha Ballack.


Applicants on 14th Street. Photo courtesy of Natasha Ballack.


Mosaic project from AiOP 2013 NUMBER still standing on 14th Street.  Photo courtesy of Natasha Ballack.


14th Street. Photo courtesy of Natasha Ballack.

The deadline to apply is currently still open and more information about this year’s festival, as well as the application, can be found on the AiOP Website.

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