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It’s year two of Curate NYC, the arts expansion project developed by Danny Simmons and Brian Tate, in partnership with the New York City Economic Development Corporation.

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Curate NYC’s primary goals are to increase the exposure of artists living in the city, as well as to expand and maintain the reputation of New York City as the premiere arts and culture hub of North America. A third goal of Curate, according to Mr. Tate, whom I spoke to recently, is the “economic development piece which is to drive visitor traffic to galleries in the five boroughs. New York is a place where business happens, and it should happen for artists just as much as it happens for everyone else.”  

While the 2010 competition created postcards of artists’ work, and established an online presence, this year’s competition further increases artists’ exposure by providing exhibition opportunities in city galleries.

Mr. Tate and Mr. Simmons decided to come up with strategy that would have a direct impact on the city by extending to the five boroughs.  

“We issued RFP’s to galleries, and then we selected five galleries,” Mr. Simmons told me.  

Galleries were not selected randomly. “We issued a far reaching request for proposals, and then went to multiple arts organizations, including the boroughs arts council to help us to get in a wide range of proposals and finally established objective criteria for selecting the five exhibiting galleries,” Mr. Simmons explained. This had to be done to ensure a diverse applicant pool of potential exhibition spaces. 

These art exhibitions provide opportunities for galleries to have access to new audiences, potential art buyers, and collectors, which fully envelopes Curate NYC’s desire to have a positive economic impact on the city and its artists.

Above: Painter Kate Fauvell

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Several artists who entered and won last year’s competition are re entering again this year. I caught up with a few previous participants, including painter Kate Fauvell, sculptor Musa Hixon, and photographer Mark Blackshear.  

Each artist spoke on the significance and the impact that Curate NYC has on the city and its potential for artists.

Here’s some of our discussion:

Why did you participate in Curate NYC, and what was most rewarding about your participation in this project?

Musa Hixon: One reason for me is that the mission is important, in that it increases the visibility of artists and that it continues to put a bright light on New York City. There has been so much that has been rewarding about participating, from the online presence and meeting other artists and having them comment on my work, as well as the fact that the curators have access to all the artists.

Kate Fauvell: Anyone living and working as an artist in New York should submit to Curate NYC. It has connected me with so many incredible people. I’ve met so many different artists and curators through this project.  It’s been great for networking; RUSH is an amazing organization.

Mark Blackshear: I usually don’t participate in contests where people are judging people’s artwork, but this one seemed different, so I decided to do it. Considering they were inviting everyone from New York to participate and the fact that they picked one of my pieces was great!

What do you find most positive about Curate NYC from last year and how it has grown this year?

Kate: It’s a great organization for emerging artists. Danny and Brian really support the artists from start to finish and it is easy to participate. The outcomes from participating last year have really helped push my current project forward. There is no reason why any artist in NY shouldn’t do this.

Musa: The project is really expanded. Last year there were about 600,000 people that went to the site and over 1,100 people entered. This year there will likely be more entries. It’s becoming a movement within itself, that’s what’s really positive. 

Mark: This year, they are going out into the five boroughs so it’s expanding and that is great for artists [and] great for the city. The magnanimous thing about Danny is that he’s been blessed in certain ways and he’s chosen to use his resources and influence to give other people, other artists an opportunity by showing their work, showing what they can do.

Above: Sculptor Musa Hixson

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There are several distinguishing components that set Curate NYC apart from other art competitions. One is that they are open to accepting work in almost all visual disciplines from painting and sculpture to digital art and new media.  

Another important aspect of this project is the founders’ commitment and dedication to community.

“We’re very focused on building community, especially among artists and people who love the arts,” said Mr. Tate. “To expand we had to go to where the artists were.”   

The project’s commitment to the arts didn’t stop with the artists or the galleries that were selected to participate. Galleries that weren’t selected for exhibitions in their spaces were invited to curate online exhibitions. 

Continuing to speak on the growth and expansion of the project as a whole, Mr. Simmons said that this year has been “much more challenging with so many diverse partners. However, as a result of becoming so multifaceted and multileveled, the results are going to be spectacular and have a greater impact on artists and the arts community.”

CurateNYC is developed and produced by Full Spectrum Experience, Inc., in partnership with the New York City Economic Development Corporation.  For more information go to www.curatenyc.org.

Above: Photographer Mark Blackshear

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