UNC Wilmington to Provide Permanent Home on its Campus for Art for the Masses

Art for the Masses is a local Wilmington arts tradition, allowing local artists to showcase and sell original works of fine art to area art lovers.

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

The University of North Carolina Wilmington announced at a press conference today that it will provide a new permanent home for Art for the Masses (AFTM), the premier show for local artists to showcase their work directly to area art lovers.

AFTM 2012, the show's 10th anniversary, will take place from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., Saturday, Nov. 17 in the Burney and Warwick Centers on the UNCW campus. The show will feature all-original fine art priced at $250 or less, with UNCW student art also available for purchase. AFTM is free and open to the public, with a requested $3 door donation to help fund public arts projects at the university.

AFTM was previously organized by Creative Wilmington, a nonprofit organization that is no longer in operation. In making the announcement, UNCW Chancellor Gary L. Miller said the university is pleased to ensure the continued success of this Wilmington arts tradition.

"UNCW values the creativity and vibrancy that the cultural arts bring to our campus and this community," said Miller. "Creating a permanent home for Art for the Masses offers our university another opportunity to collaborate with and support our regional arts community."

UNCW has strong, active academic programs in the cultural arts, including art and art history, creative writing, film studies, music and theatre. AFTM will provide direct support for public art projects through the Department of Art and Art History. Artists exhibiting at AFTM will retain 100 percent of the proceeds from their sales, as they have in past years.

Uses of the door donations may include funding a visiting lecturer related to public art, purchasing art for display on campus or funding a student public art project. The goal of the public art program will be to foster a unique project each year that involves student learning and the placement of art in public spaces on campus.

"I look forward to seeing the creative connections this new partnership will inspire," said Miller. "I hope Art for the Masses will be a magnet for anyone who appreciates art to visit our campus, learn more about our art programs, and support the cultural arts throughout our community."

Jenni Harris, UNCW's assistant to the chancellor for community partnerships, has worked with local arts initiatives for years. She was instrumental, along with Andi Steele, assistant professor in the Department of Art and Art History, and Shane Fernando, interim director for arts and programs with UNCW's Boseman Gallery, in bringing AFTM to the UNCW campus.

She invited local artists to plan to show their work at the Nov. 17 event and to register starting in July. Local artists can find more information and registration materials for AFTM 2012 online at www.uncw.edu/artforthemasses.   Artists' fees will be used to fund the event the following year.

Harris said all forms of visual art are welcome at the show, including painting, sculpture, ceramics, fabric art and jewelry. "We want this event to start big and continue to grow every year," she said, "with more artists, more diversity of pieces, more works to show and more attendees. We want Art for the Masses to be a signature Wilmington event, drawing people to our campus from all around our region and showcasing the incredibly talented artists that we have in our community."

For more information about Art for the Masses 2012, please go to www.uncw.edu/artforthemasses or email artforthemasses@uncw.edu

Media contact:
Dana Fischetti, media relations manager, 910.508.3127 or fischettid@uncw.edu