Saturday, February 28, 2009

What We Want Is Free: An Exploration of the Field of Non-profit Visual Arts Organizations

Tuesday, March 3, 6:30 – 8pm
The Goethe Institut
812 7th St NW
Washington, DC

In tandem with Transformer’s current Summer Camp program - a four-week series of creative events (February 7 – March 7) investigating art as action, engagement, social exchange, and interactivity, Transformer presents What We Want Is Free: An Exploration of the Field of Non-profit Visual Arts Organizations. This ninth panel in Transformer’s on-going FRAMEWORK Panel Series will examine the importance of non-profit visual arts organizations with small to medium sized budgets – 'alternative art spaces' and/or 'artist spaces' - and their impact on the past, present, and future of contemporary visual art. Transformer is presenting this panel in partnership with The Goethe-Institut who will host the event in their theatre. Participation is free.

Participating panelists include: Mark Allen, Director, Machine Project, Los Angeles, CA; Wendy Clark, Visual Arts Specialist, National Endowment for the Arts, Washington, DC; Steven Rand, Executive Director, Apexart, NYC; Victoria Reis, Executive & Artistic Director, Transformer, Washington, DC; and Don Russell, Executive Director, Provisions Library, Washington, DC. The panel will be moderated by Ryan Hill, Transformer Board Member, and Manager of Interpretive Programs & Curatorial Research Associate, Hirshhorn Museum & Sculpture Garden.

Questions to be addressed include: What is a Visual Arts Organization (VAO)? How did the field of non-profit alternative arts organizations/artist spaces begin and what were they an alternative to? What are some different models of current non-profit VAOs – how has the field changed since its inception, the culture wars of the early 90s? How do these VAOs educate audiences, support artistic careers, enhance our society? In what ways do these organizations facilitate discovery and usher in new artistic concepts?

The panel discussion will be followed by a thirty minute question-and-answer segment with the audience.

For more information, please visit the Goethe-Institut’s website at

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