Art Nerd New York | Los Angeles

My People: Hi-ARTS’ Carlos Mare Curates the People’s Art Project at PS109

French artist/photographer JR's works in Paris, Pantheon renovations

French artist/photographer JR’s works in Paris, Pantheon renovations

Art and community= a theme courting overexposure. Lately so many organizations hold exhibits using community outreach as a blanket term for programming that purports to express messages of empathy, empowerment and social engagement.

Inside Out: The People’s Art Project undeniably walks the walk, serving as a benchmark for organizations looking to dip their toes into the wide pool of community art. It is an accessible project available to all, a modifiable concept to those looking to tackle ideas of how communities are represented.

The People's Art Project, in situ at PS 109, Spanish Harlem

The People’s Art Project: Mi Gente/Oyate Kin, in situ at PS 109, Spanish Harlem

New York City is lucky enough to have its own incarnation of Inside Out: Mi Gente/Oyate Kin Art Project highlighting Spanish Harlem and the Oglata Lakota Tribe Reservation of South Dakota. Opening this Friday, Nov 14 from 6-9 pm at nonprofit arts organization Hi-Arts/PS109 Artspace in Spanish Harlem, the exhibit features portraits of the neighborhood on a sweeping scale. Hi-Arts and its recently elected Curatorial Director Carlos Mare, renowned street artist and sculptor, have partnered with photographers evoking renegade artist/photographer JR, raising the stakes on meaningful community-based art. Comprised of photographs taken of Spanish Harlem and Lakota Tribe community residents, these images are buoyant and whimsical and allow individuals to speak for themselves rather than respond to a label.

PS109 install shot, The People's Art Project

PS109 install shot, The People’s Art Project

The project combats blanket prejudice and negative stereotypes associated with the two communities, Spanish Harlem in New York City and Oglata Lakota Tribe’s Reservation in South Dakota. Fostering a dialogue between these two communities, photographers Willi White and Peter Pablon, based at the Lakota reservation and in Spanish Harlem respectively, treat their subjects with care and evoke the joy of everyday experience. These large-scale prints, each measuring 36 x 53″, combine to create a larger-than-life mural of hope, diversity and individuality. Swing by the new PS109 community art space/housing units to see the mural currently installed there. And don’t forget to stop by Hi-Arts’ gallery/PS109 artspace for the grand opening of Inside Out: Mi Gente/Oyate Kin this Friday.

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