From my review of “Networks 2008” at the Newport Art Museum, AS220 and 5 Traverse Gallery in Rhode Island:
In 2004, AS220's StinkTank put out a paper titled "Compost and the Arts." It's probably the most concise and astute thinking on how to foster creative communities that I've ever read. Its key idea: create creative crossroads — places where people cross paths to show art, perform, hang out, display announcements, make art. The idea is that places where people share work, ideas, and techniques — places, not coincidentally, like AS220 — inspire people to keep making art, encourage artists to learn from each other, challenge them to make better art, and to keep making it here.Read the rest here.
"Compost and the Arts" articulated how to lay the foundation of creative communities. Now "NetWorks 2008" — a group of photos, exhibits, and videos — is a proposition about how to keep a creative community going. "It is my assertion that the more conscious we are about documenting Rhode Island's community of makers," AS220 artistic director Bert Crenca writes in the catalogue, "the more likely that this community will be sustained and, in fact, grow."
"NetWorks 2008" is the brainchild of Crenca and Joseph Chazan, a Providence doctor and art collector, who is the project's sugardaddy. Originally they planned to just document Rhode Island artists. But the project grew into three exhibits…
“Networks 2008,” AS220’s Project Space, 93 Mathewson St., Providence, Dec. 5 to 28; Newport Art Museum, 76 Bellevue Ave., Newport, Oct. 25, 2008, to Jan. 19, 2009; and 5 Traverse gallery, 5 Traverse St., Providence, Dec. 5, 2008, to Jan. 11, 2009.
Pictured from top to bottom: Works by Xander Marro and CW Roelle.