“Nothing succeeds like success,” an axiom as true in the art market as it is anywhere else.
Entrepreneur and curator Joel Damon, instrumental in organizing various art exhibits and events of all kinds for nearly the past 10 years in the Metro, will stretch once again when his newest space at 5603 NW Radial Hwy, the Citylight Arts Project, opens Nov. 3.
Whether singularly, or more often in collaboration with artist Josh Powel, Damon has successfully organized exhibits, DIYs and pop-ups historically and eclectically within abandoned and renovated buildings and storage units, the sorely missed Bemis Underground and his current pet Project Project on Vinton Street.
All within an umbrella vision that emphasizes cultural community building while giving emerging artists their first opportunities to be seen and appreciated by viewers in an expanding arts market in the Metro. Not unlike what Project Project has added to the vibe on Vinton Street.
“It’s quite interesting running two arts spaces on both sides of the spectrum, one in an up-and-coming neighborhood and the other in the most active creative community in the city,” Damon said. “I am running the new space for the foreseeable future. There will be monthly visual art exhibitions coinciding with the Benson First Friday celebration as well as music, dance and community-based events. Project Project will not be affected in any way.”
CAP’s grand opening will seek to ground itself in the Benson area with an exhibit from a more established artist, Watie White, who happens to have a history of his own in community building and organizing via the visual arts. 8 People, which opens Friday from 6-9 p.m., features eight 8’ tall prints of White’s woodcut portrait murals that will be placed in multiple locations in Benson Nov. 11.
“The prints are from my woodcut series, 100 People, those I admire who make the world better in ways that are big and small,” White said in a show statement. “Generally, these are people who are surprised and flattered that someone – an artist – would be taking an interest in them and their stories.
“My model chooses their pose and the message told by their posture, costume and gestures. The murals and prints do not communicate much else, to keep an air of mystery to the experience of looking at them on site. The hope is the viewer returns often to mine it for new, subtle clues and in the process spend a long time with an image of a real person they have not met yet; someone they may find interesting when they do.”
White says the 100 vary from “activists who stand up for people who need someone to stand up for them. They are young people who are searching to find a way to live in a genuine and sustainable way. They are children who are noticeably kind and patient and hopeful. They are black and brown and queer. Very young to very old.”
To that end, 8 People easily falls within CAP’s overall mission to “pioneer a new space…partner with like-minded community organizations…promote emerging creatives,..produce a new generation of art patrons…and provide for the underprivileged in our neighborhood.”
It’s a daunting task, but not beyond the purview of contemporary art. Plus, CAP has a proven track to run on.
“The high amount of activity that happens in Benson every month, as well as on Vinton, is exactly what was missing from the city when I started organizing exhibitions nearly a decade ago,” Damon said. “It took a while, but the community has grown strong, and I am extremely excited to be adding another venue for local and regional artists to use.”
8 People, eight 8’ tall woodcut prints opens Friday, Nov. 3 from 6-9 p.m. at Citylight Arts Project, 5603 NW Radial Hwy. The exhibition will be available for viewing by appointment until Dec 2. For details, visit https://www.facebook.com or go to citylightartsproject.com.