Hi Everyone, Jodi here.
This past Saturday, I attended a con of a different kind. Art Con: ANONYMOUS was the most recent event put on by local nonprofit, Art Conspiracy. Founded in 2005, “Art Conspiracy is a nonprofit community that conspires to bring artists and musicians together, raise funds, and activate awareness for regional creative programs and causes.” Each year a local, arts-based nonprofit is chosen as the beneficiary of year-long fundraising efforts, and the ‘Art Con Way’ has raised nearly $300,000 to date, through community-engaged philanthropy.
ANONYMOUS featured new works by 39 different local artists, live music from DFW-based bands, SuperSonic Lips and Vodeo, and an after-party sound tracked by DJ, Son of Stan. Held at Life in Deep Ellum, this event gave audience members a chance to see, hear, and purchase art, as well as interact with the local arts community. As Iggy Rodriguez, Art Con volunteer, put it, “Organizations like Art Con bring people together, both socially and financially, and give up-and-coming artists a platform to have their work seen.”
Each art contribution was auctioned off as part of the fundraising for this year’s beneficiary, and proceeds will be the seed for the big Art Con event held in the fall. The 2016 beneficiary was announced on Saturday: Music is Our Weapon, “a Texas-based 501(c)3 nonprofit dedicated to increasing emotional, physical, and mental well-being through the power of music.”
Megan Van Groll, contributing artist for ANONYMOUS and former Art Conspiracy executive team volunteer, explains how the Art Con model benefits both artists and art buyers, as well as the beneficiary and the greater community. “It’s an opportunity to show your work and build an audience of supporters and buyers – and it’s very egalitarian; everyone from middle schoolers to established gallery artists can contribute to Art Con. And the event often brings in people who have no prior connection to the art world, who may not be looking at art, who may have never purchased a work of art in their lives. All of a sudden the auction begins and with starting bids of only $20, becoming an art collector becomes a lot more accessible and feasible.”
“It keeps me connected to and an active participant of the Dallas art community. Between making art and making a living (usually not the same thing), artists struggle to find the time to interact with other artists and art supporters, yet that’s such an incredibly important part of being an artist in the world. I’ve met so many interesting, creative, passionate people as a result of Art Con and that’s been invaluable and enriching to my work. Plus, I’d be lying if I didn’t say that it’s also just really incredibly thrilling to see your work held up to a crowd at a live cattle-call style auction and listen as the bids get higher and higher until the auctioneer yells, “Sold!”
Watch the website for news about Art Con’s big autumn event: artconspiracy.org
Check out this year’s beneficiary at: musicisourweapon.org
All photos thanks to Violet O’Hara.