Art festival will focus on race

An artist participating in the upcoming Art in Odd Places festival, Walis Johnson, will have a mobile installation along 14th Street detailing how people of color faced discrimination in Stuyvesant Town and other areas. (Pictured) Some of the artifacts that go along with stories she’s collected by doing interviews (Photo courtesy of Walis Johnson)

An artist participating in the upcoming Art in Odd Places festival, Walis Johnson, will have a mobile installation along 14th Street detailing how people of color faced discrimination in Stuyvesant Town and other areas. (Pictured) Some of the artifacts that go along with stories she’s collected by doing interviews (Photo courtesy of Walis Johnson)

By Sabina Mollot

There’s no question that race is the most widely covered topic this year in the news, whether the word’s in reference to the upcoming presidential election or race as in skin color, with recent protests stemming from the Black Lives Matter movement. So it shouldn’t come as a surprise that it’s the theme chosen for artists to run with in what is sure to be a politically charged Art in Odd Places festival.

The annual art show, which features both visual and performance art pieces along the length of 14th Street for a few days, is set to run this year from October 6-9.

This year there will be 34 artists, most of them with works that are performance based. The event was founded by teaching artist Ed Woodham, and this year there are four curators: Elissa Blount-Moorhead, Rylee Eterginoso, Tumelo Mosaka and Ikechukwu Onyewuenyi.

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Art in Odd Places founder kicked out of residency program

Artists Samantha Hill and Ed Woodham outside their temporary apartment in Macon, Georgia (Photo courtesy of Hill and Woodham)

Artists Samantha Hill and Ed Woodham outside their temporary apartment in Macon, Georgia (Photo courtesy of Hill and Woodham)

By Sabina Mollot

Ed Woodham, the founder of the Art in Odd Places festival, an event that takes over the length of 14th Street each October with visual and performance art pieces, has been kicked out of a community arts program that he now believes was aimed at promoting gentrification.

Woodham and another artist he partnered with on an artist-in-residence project, Samantha Hill, said that last Tuesday they were given the boot from this program — and their temporary home — when they failed to do publicity for it. This was after just 21 days of what was supposed to be a three to four-month residency in Macon, Georgia.

The problem, explained Woodham, is that when he agreed to the job, it was touted as a way to engage local residents in Macon and cultivate arts programs in an attempt to revitalize the area. However, as he and Hill began to speak with the residents in the neighborhood where they were staying, they began to wonder if their real function was to “art wash” or push the area as an arts hub at the expense of the existing residents. One reason they suspected this, said Woodham, was that Macon’s black residents were telling them they felt they hadn’t been included by the Macon Arts Alliance, the organization spearheading the Mill Hill program.

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Art in Odd Places returns for 10th year

By Sabina Mollot

An app of an alternate reality on 14th Street, created by John Craig Freeman, will be one of the featured works in the annual Art in Odd Places festival, running from October 9-12. (Photo courtesy of John Craig Freeman) An app of an alternate reality on 14th Street, created by John Craig Freeman, will be one of the featured works in AiOP. (Photo courtesy of John Craig Freeman)

An app of an alternate reality on 14th Street, created by John Craig Freeman, will be one of the featured works in AiOP. (Photo courtesy of John Craig Freeman)

Art in Odd Places, the annual art festival that’s been known to take over the length of 14th Street with site specific installations and performances, is returning soon for the 10th time.

This time, the event has been shortened to four days (it’s normally a week or longer), which, AiOP founder Ed Woodham said was to make it more concentrated so no one can miss it.

“The majority of the audience is people who come across it unexpectedly,” Woodham said. “It’s one of those magic New York moments.”

The event will run from October 9 to 12 along 14th Street from Avenue C to the Hudson River, with the kickoff celebration on Friday, October 10 from 6-9 p.m. at the entrance of Campos Plaza (on 14th Street between Avenues B and C). There will also be a few installations in other locations throughout the city, dubbed by organizers as “free agents.”

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