Yoshitoshi, Hangaku Gozen (c. 1885). Courtesy of the Outsider Art Fair.

When the Outsider Art Fair returns to New York later this month, it will acknowledge and celebrate the first anniversary of the Women’s March, which was held in hundreds of cities around the world on January 21, 2017, the day after President Donald Trump’s inauguration.

By definition, the Outsider Art Fair showcases work by artists outside the art establishment. This year, they’re widening their scope even further, to the point where even you—yes you—could have a work on display. The fair will include a booth titled “Onward,” featuring artwork made in response to an open call inviting participants to consider the theme “Vision for the Future of Women.”

Jamie Sterns is a writer and the curatorial director of Brooklyn’s Interstate Projects who is organizing the booth. “The Women’s March was so inspiring,” she told artnet News. “There were the posters, and the hats, and people making things and expressing themselves by whatever means—high, low, handmade—it was incredible.”

Demonstrators protest on the National Mall in Washington, DC, for the Women’s March on January 21, 2017. Photo courtesy of Andrew Caballero-Reynolds/AFP/Getty Images.

“It was an important political gesture, but also it felt so uplifting and hopeful, that we will get through this because we’re together,” she added. “That’s what we want to this open call to feel like. Everyone is welcome.”

All artists are eligible, “no matter their background, reputation, level of success or anonymity,” according to the announcement, as long as they make a 2-D piece no bigger than 16 by 20 inches and submit it by January 15. The works will be for sale for $400 each at the fair, and the artist will receive half the proceeds of any sale.

Sterns isn’t promising to include every submission in the booth but will do her best to do so. “If it is in the spirit of it, and it gets there on time, we want to show it,” she said. “The premise is just to invite people to envision what it is to be a woman.”

Although the turnaround is quick—the submission period is less than two weeks long—Sterns still expects there will be a significant response from the artistic community. After all, she said, “art is a massive way for people to have some sort of voice, and people want to be heard.”

The Outsider Art Fair will take place at the Metropolitan Pavilion, 125 West 18th Street, New York, January 18–21, 2018. 


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