Presented by Art In City Hall, Office of Arts, Culture and the Creative Economy In partnership with An Open Window, a nonprofit project partner of the Center for Transformative Action affiliated with Cornell University.
Philadelphia, PA – Philadelphia’s Art In City Hall program – part of the City’s Office of Arts, Culture and the Creative Economy (OACCE) presents Without the Wall, an art installation curated by Treacy Ziegler. The exhibit runs from June 25th – August 22nd, City Hall 2nd Floor, NE corner near the offices of the Mayor.
Without the Wall is an anonymous presentation of approximately 55 incarcerated and non-incarcerated artists, many of whom are from the Philadelphia region. The installation asks the viewer to experience the art without knowing whether the art is created by prison inmates or professional artists on the outside. The artists were asked to create a work of art in the format of a 6-inch circle. Each piece is framed in a black square and suspended from the ceiling. Because the work is suspended from the ceiling, both sides of the black squares are visible. The backs of the squares are covered with artwork and letters that are sent to Ziegler from prisoners who participate in her through-the-mail curriculum that she has established with 2300 prisoners throughout the United States in her project, An Open Window.
In Treacy Ziegler’s installation of anonymous works, she poses a valuable question: “Can the viewer look at the art purely on the aesthetic experience or will the fact that some paintings by incarcerated artists be a focus on how the work is viewed?”
Her intention isn’t to use art as a form of therapy or rehab for prisoners. It’s about the art itself and whether as viewer’s we can experience art without filters or preconceived notions about the work based on the people who’ve created it.
“Treacy Ziegler’s curatorial play further blurs the line between professional and self-taught art,” says Helen Haynes, the City’s new Chief Cultural Officer. “But what she’s also doing in her comparisons, whether it’s her intention or not, is to allow us to recognize through the prism of art – within the darkest ofsettings such as a prison – there can be an uplifting display of human potential.”
Without the Wall is part of An Open Window, a project partner of the Center for Transformative Action affiliated with Cornell University. The mission of the project is implemented through both exhibiting outside professional artwork in prisons and through conducting workshops with inmates.
Treacy Ziegler is an exhibiting artist and over the past 20 years has had about 30 exhibitions in major galleries in New York City, Boston, Philadelphia, Toronto, Alexandria, VA. and Corning, NY. She is a graduate of Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts. Prior to attending art school, Treacy received a Master of Social Work from the University of Pennsylvania. At that time, she worked as a family therapist and social worker primarily in the housing projects of Philadelphia. In An Open Window project she brings both her skills and vision as a working artist with her social work experience to develop a complex understanding of both art and the viewer’s relationship to that art.
Art In City Hall presents exhibitions that showcase contemporary artwork by emerging and professional visual artists from the Philadelphia region. Encompassing a variety of mediums, techniques, and subjects, this municipal program is committed to presenting a diversity of ideas and artistic explorations. The program strives to link visual artists with the larger community by providing the public with a greater knowledge and appreciation of their artistic achievements. The exhibitions at City Hall are supported by an independent Exhibitions Advisory Committee made up of local arts professionals.
The mission of the City of Philadelphia’s Office of Arts, Culture and the Creative Economy is to support and promote arts, culture and the creative industries; and to develop partnerships and coordinate efforts that weave arts, culture and creativity into the economic and social fabric of the City. For more information on the Office of Arts, Culture and the Creative Economy, visit: www.creativephl.org,
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