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Views from the Outsider Art Fair

Sludgy New York weather couldn’t dampen spirits at this traveling exhibition, highlighting artists operating far outside the traditional gallery scene.

Susan Te Kahurangi King, Untitled, c. 1978, Graphite, ebony and crayon on paper

While New York’s recent arctic weather has been a drag on the city’s cultural life—not to mention its transportation—the art world has still managed to keep things vibrant. This past weekend Chelsea’s Center548 hosted the 23rd edition of the Outsider Art Fair, an annual showcase featuring hundreds of international artists, highlighting the unique, marginalized, and often-visionary work of those acting outside the mainstream. With pieces ranging from the beautiful to the bizarre, this year’s contributions included perennial favorites like Henry Darger and James Castle, to first-time exhibitor Arte del Pueblo, presenting Haitian works from the collection of Jonathan Demme, to capsule exhibition If I Had Possession Over Judgment Day, curated by Jay Gorney and Anne Doran. The latter featured the evocative images of five artists whose creations were inspired by the concept of paranoia, and was held in tandem with a panel on the pathological sources of artistic inspiration.

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When Dreams are a Stimulus Package

Financial troubles, a dad with cancer, and the weight of the past didn’t discourage Phil Williams.

Photo by Dave Ron via Mediatycoon

The first play Phil Williams ever saw was a production of Les Miserables. He was about four years old when he now remembers thinking to himself, “What is this craziness?”

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A Mosaic Shines in Philly

An intimate conversation with a fixture of the Philadelphia art world.

PHILADELPHIA - The South Street district is a gritty, disheveled, and jaggedly beautiful area in Philadelphia. Filled with artist’s studios, bohemian hangouts, and eclectic boutiques, South Street has long been a bastion of counterculture, a haven for those who do not fit into mainstream society and go against the grain of the status quo. Driving around this eclectic neighborhood, it is apparent that a main fixture of South Street is the glittering mosaics by artist Isaiah Zagar. Zagar’s mosaic murals, often covering entire buildings in shattered glass, ceramic, and mirror, are metaphysical windows into a world of creativity; they synthesize the history of art and the international folk art communities into a uniquely beautiful visual statement that is all at once a reflection of Zagar’s surroundings and his imagination.

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Seeing Things as They Could Be, Not as They Are

This past summer, I went on an epic train journey across America in the inspired company of 24 pioneering millennials. With the help of the GOOD community and about 1,000 individuals, they had crowdfunded their way on board with innovative projects focused on some our nation’s greatest challenges

This past summer, I went on an epic train journey across America in the inspired company of 24 pioneering millennials. With the help of the GOOD community and about 1,000 individuals, they had crowdfunded their way on board with innovative projects focused on some our nation’s greatest challenges. Our inaugural journey was an example of what can happen when diverse groups of people come together to support the aspirations of one generation. It was the first in a series of journeys run by our Millennial Trains Project, the next of which will venture from Los Angeles to Miami in March 2014.

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What Inspired Me to Tell Nonprofit Stories More Creatively

Preparation is key in creating any nonprofit video, especially an international one. But keeping an open mind is also crucial. You never know when an awesome, little Kevin will cross your path and add his priceless magic to your project.

There’s an old building at the end of the long strip of surf shops and restaurants in the small tourist town of San Juan Del Sur, Nicaragua. If you didn’t know it was there, you’d surely miss it. But when you look closely, you’ll notice the character of the old structure and, of course, the graffiti that reads BPP in neon pink, green, and purple. It stands for Barrio Planta Project, a nonprofit organization that offers art and English education to the kids of “La Planta,” the village where the residents of this small surf town reside. Most importantly, BPP strives to inspire confidence and empower their kids to express themselves creatively. Like many non-profits, BPP provides valuable work to their community. But their achievements are lost among the clutter of the internet. The last thing they needed was another long, boring video about how the organization worked and who ran it. Instead, we decided to show the success of BPP’s programs in action. By using creativity to promote creativity, our short video was a collaboration with the BPP kids. We made sure to highlight their awesome personalities and utilize their unique ideas.

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Out in the Open: A Playful Art Installation for World Toilet Day

Seeking to raise awareness about the plight of 2.5 billion people without access to clean, private toilets, my mobile shower and toilet service for the homeless, San Francisco-based nonprofit Lava Mae, is mounting a public art installation entitled C’mon Give a Sh_t!.

"Comfurt" by Ana Teresa Fernandez. Donations go to the Asian and Pacific Islander Wellness Center

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