The New York Times makes this interesting observation about store fronts in the UK and the US that are being used as impromptu art galleries. The idea has surfaced a number of times in recent months as the impact and duration of the economic slowdown continues to sink in:
As the recession has cut into the British economy, artistic groups have begun to fill the void. Dubbed “the slack space movement” by The Guardian newspaper, they are taking over empty shops and turning them into temporary studios and galleries.
In Dursley, a former manufacturing town in western England, the ceramic artist Karen Hilliard is coordinating a project to transform a street of boarded-up buildings into spaces for local artists. And in the southeast seaside town of Margate, the district council is backing a project to fill empty shop windows with giant papier-mâché props, ranging from supersize shrimps to olive oil bottles. “There is nothing worse than walking past streets of empty shops,” said Heather Sawney, the project’s director. “This keeps people’s imagination fresh and gives them a pride of place.”
In New York, Emma and Ani Katz, 20-something sisters, recently started The Recession Art Shows, an organization dedicated to “our own art stimulus plan today.” The goal is to support emerging artists through a quarterly series of shows — the first opened in April, in the industrial Gowanus area of Brooklyn — exhibiting works with a $500 price cap, set low enough for recession-hit art collectors to keep buying. The show featured work by seven artists, experimenting with low-cost media like charcoal, watercolor and embroidery.
“Recession has given people the opportunity to be more free in their thinking,” Emma Katz said. “Often people had put their art on the back burner and focused on their more serious careers. Recession has given them the opportunity to do it more seriously.”
Getting Creative in a Downturn (New York Times)