Discovery Series: Interview with NURTUREart
by Alix Greenberg for COMPANY
(October 9th, 2011) This summer we learned about the great non-profit NURTUREArt. With it's dedication to supporting emerging artists and curators, we knew we had to find out more about all of their programs. On October 11th NURTUREart will host their annual benefit. We sat down with Development Director Karley Klopfenstein to get the full scoop. Karley joined NURTUREart in January of 2011. Having graduate level knowledge of studio art and years of professional experience at Sculpture Key West, Karley brings a comprehensive understanding of the non-profit art world to NURTUREart. Combining her love of creating art with her experience in building a once grassroots organization to something reviewed by the renowned Art in America, Karley is proud to continue supporting the development side of NURTUREart.
COMPANY: Your mission statement - NURTUREart, our name is our mission - is powerful, yet so simple. Can you expand on the history of the statement?
Karley: For 13 years, NURTUREart has been focused on one thing: nurturing the careers of new artists, which until George Robinson founded the company, was not prevalent in the New York art scene. In his effort to support emerging artists, Robinson created a registry of artwork - uncurated, free, and fundamental in order to get new work in front of curators. Although NURTUREart’s registry is a bit technologically updated today, it still holds the same fundamental mission: to nurture emerging art and artists.
COMPANY: Tell us more about NURTUREart’s Education Outreach Program and how the program merges contemporary art with life skills teachings.
Karley: Spotting a vacuum in the art programs at public schools in NY, the education committee created a variety of educational programs that take place in three Brooklyn schools. One program, “Project Curate” involves a professional curator works with an 11th grade high school class and teaches them how to curate a show. Once completed, the young adults hang their exhibition at NURTUREart. Curating a show is no easy task and these 11th graders conduct everything - soup to nuts - from deciding on the artist to include, to picking the work to be shown, to writing press releases, and to planning the opening reception. We want to NURTURE the next generation of artists.
COMPANY: Where do you find the participating curators and artists? How do you decide on who gets to participate?
Karley: Once an open call email blast to thousands of emerging curators and artists all over the US is sent, NURTUREart is undoubtedly hit with a massive number of submissions. Important to NURTUREart is theory, concept, and aesthetic - not degree, professional experience or connection. Selections are made by a jury panel of professionals.
COMPANY: How do you define emerging?
Karley: It’s terribly hard to define. NURTUREart generally defines emerging as someone without gallery representation, someone who has not had many opportunities to have a show.
COMPANY: Can you tell us a little bit about the program ‘Muse Fuse’?
Karley: Once a month, NURTUREart’s president organizes an informal panel discussion of art world influencers to an artist’s studio, with the purpose of supporting the professional development of emerging artists, while giving them exposure.
COMPANY: Your 2011 benefit is around the corner--October 11th. How does the benefit work?
Karley: The benefit is based on the notion that you buy a ticket and go home with a piece of art (all of which is donated by artists). One of my favorite pieces up for grabs is Romy Scheroder’s “Reality Existing,” a work on paper of two golden chairs, delineated in navy, which are mirroring each other. The good stuff goes extremely quickly at this benefit! Collectors, artists, friends of the organization, and more come in flocks hoping to obtain a great piece.
COMPANY: What is your favorite thing about working at NURTUREart?
Karley: It’s exciting to be a part of something that touches people - everyone who knows of NURTUREart loves it!
There are still tickets available for the October 11th benefit. Get your tickets here. Check out the participating artists to plan which art work you want to go home with. We're hoping to grab Melodie Provenzano's gold leaf frog!