The Wassaic Project has carved a niche for itself in the contemporary art world. Comprising a motivated team of curators, directors, and artists that have been schooled in social practice, the Wassaic Project can re-energize entire towns by organizing exhibitions and festivals with thousands of attendees. The sole aim of the project is to promote the essence of art in building and fostering community.
The project began seven years ago as a weekend arts festival in a mill and old grain elevator, which have now turned into a vibrant arts center loved by its former artists-in-residence and participants for its rustic charm. The setting now includes a schoolhouse, century-old hotel and bar, and cavernous livestock auction barn. As far as elements are concerned, Wassaic has chosen unique themes, including a haunted house, a summer camp, an annual parade, and arts programming through its seven-year journey.
An incredibly creative platform for local and summer residents that is completely dedicated to education and community, the program is working hard with a focus to bring art to K-12 schools in collaboration with the Northeast School System. The Wassaic Project exemplifies how artists from any nationality or background can re-energize entire towns with their magical art.
Celebrating a successful 2014 when almost 5,000 attendees were drawn toward the project, organizers are gearing to leave a lasting impression in 2015 as well with its upcoming project in the picturesque Hudson Valley. The focus still remains the same – to attract top artists from leading art schools that approach their art with discipline, passion, and zeal with a focus to leave a mark in the contemporary art space.
It is one platform where budding yet talented artists get the space to showcase their talent working within the existing framework of what is available to them in the studio. Artists have been using the unique and atypical project environment and eerie location to create masterpieces that leave lasting impressions. Dubbed as an “incubator” for emerging artists, the Wassaic Project is set to produce an exhibition of diverse works of its artists from June 14 to September 20, 2015 in a repurposed seven story grain elevator in the Maxon Mills.
It hasn’t been a smooth sailing ride for Bowie Zunino, Eve Biddle and Jeff Barnett-Winsby, who have had to face natural elements as major obstruction to their project in the form of rainstorms, hailstorms, freezing cold, and floods. But hard work, commitment to a social cause, and passion to make their project a success have helped the couple stay firm in their resolve to overcome the hardships and work for the community. The best part of the entire project is that artists have been happy to use the natural elements to their credit to create matchless artworks.
Other key members of the Wassaic portfolio include the talented couple – Adam Eckstrom and Lauren Was – of the Rhode Island School of Design. The two artists work under the name the Ghost of a Dream and have been organizing exhibitions. This year’s exhibition will see several other talented artists from top art schools in the country and across the globe.