Presenting visual and performance art in unexpected public spaces.

AiOP 2015: RECALL Former Staff: Cesar Jesena

Art in Odd Places (AiOP) 2015: RECALL is our 11th year and while this year’s festival is all about looking back at past artists and projects, we are also taking time to catch up with some of the former AiOP staff. Without the support of these dedicated volunteers, these festivals would not have gotten off the ground. We here at AiOP are honored to have worked with these individuals over the years and are taking the time to see what they have been up to, ask how working with AiOP has impacted their lives and, above all, hope to run into them on 14th Street during this year’s festival.


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Cesar Jesena.

 How many years did you volunteer with AiOP? Which festivals were you a part of?

-I was a with AiOP for 2 years, in 2010 (Chance) and 2011 (Ritual).

What position did you hold during your tenure with AiOP?

I was primarily running the social media strategy for AiOP, but also helped out with the organization’s PR and marketing efforts. Working in those capacities gave me the opportunity to work with the team and different artists to help spread the word about the annual festival.


In what ways did working with AiOP assist you in your professional development outside the festival?

In short: a lot! I was a recent NY transplant when I first met Ed Woodham, so I was still unsure of what I wanted. During that time, everyone was still figuring out how to harness the power of social media. Exciting times indeed! I knew I wanted to learn how to push brands forward, and working with AiOP gave me such a great hands-on experience to work with this new type of “technology”. The very grassroots effort of the organization forced me to be creative. I learned how to create content meant to “engage” rather than just “inform”. There are also several moving parts in this project, so it taught me the value of “organized chaos”. It was a lot of work but I loved every moment of it. Basically my stint with AiOP paved the way on where I want to be all along: the intersection of “technology” and “branding”.


What is your fondest memory from participating in an AiOP festival?

I have to say when “BroLab Collective” invited me to be part of their performance piece called “Platform” along 14th street back in 2011. The artists were part of the 2010 AiOP festival, so I was very familiar with their work. The concept was very simple: have a round table (well technically, it was a rectangular table) discussion about public art … in public. Since I was running the social media campaign for AiOP, I was “talking the talk” about the matter. Collaborating with these artists challenged me to “walk the walk”. It was such an exhilarating experience for me to moderate this discussion along the very busy and cold 14th street in Manhattan,  given I was used to working behind the scenes. My friends who stopped by to see me perform even called me “Yoprah” (short for “Yellow Oprah”)  after this performance. Definitely one of those “New York” moments I will never forget.

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