London’s “first free, monthly art exchange”, according to volunteers, bARTer, will be taking place this month in Tufnell Park.
Artists from around the area will be able to trade in their unwanted masterpieces for art-work in the first of these monthly events. HealthyPlanet, who currently run a free book scheme throughout the country, attempted to hold the first event on the 28th of March at their Tufnell Park shop however the event was cancelled by the poor weather.
Gabrielle Sonabend, an artist from Slade School of Fine art and volunteer at Books for Free NW5 came up with the event concept “after talking to my artist friends and hearing about how much great art they’d all been making but not selling.”
The plans were to start small with around 10 artists as the Books for Free shop cannot hold many more. Already, Jacqueline Guderley, lead volunteer at Books for Free NW5 said, “we are talking to local art galleries and groups as the interest grows.” The group are also holding Open Art Nights, which Jacqueline described as an open-minded open-mic night.
At the moment, DeviantArt, the artist’s social network, has the world’s biggest art trade-in, however artists must be commissioned before they trade. At bARTer, artists “swap old art works and objects that they no longer want for someone else’s “unwanted” things”, says Jacqueline.
Alix Janta-Polczynski, one of the pair of curators of ArtBarter, an annual international art exchange event, said that the concept of exchanging art for art or goods and services is particularly relevant in the current economic climate; “Projects such as ‘the free shop’ and ‘freecycle’ are prevalent in London and the exchange of skills between friends and businesses are on the rise.”
Artist Sophie Ward said, “At first I thought the idea was horrific as I’m very possessive over my art but if their stuff was uber-cool then I’d be up for the exchange.”
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