ArtPM Challenge opens to all in February
Sometimes it takes both inspiration and motivation to make art. With that in mind, the ArtPM Challenge is designed to be your muse during the month of February.
ArtPM is modeled after the RPM Challenge organized annually by The Wire and other volunteers, but not affiliated with it. Rather than record music, the new challenge asks creative people to make four pieces of original, visual art during February. In March, at least one of the pieces will be on display locally.
The idea was initiated by Dover artist Joceyln Toffic, who has been known to set her own deadlines when painting. She talked to Tristan Law, who is involved with the Buoy Art Gallery in Kittery, Maine, and organizes art exhibits at The Press Room in Portsmouth. He had been planning a community art show and liked Toffic’s idea to make it even bigger and open to all.
The RPM Challenge, now in its fifth year, encourages musicians to write and record a CD in the month of February. It has attracted the attention of thousands of creative people and Toffic said she always felt left out because she’s not a musician.
“I’m doing this because I’m jealous of all the fun musicians have in February, but also because I run into so many people locally who vocalize to me that they want to make art, but don’t have the time or motivation,” Toffic said. “The deadline will inspire more creativity than people are capable of cultivating on their own.”
She hopes to see the same energy that goes into the RPM Challenge come out of ArtPM. She said bringing more artists in on the fun will heighten the creative buzz on the Seacoast during the month.
“People work well under deadline if they have something to work for,” Law said. He said it should encourage people to produce new art by making a gallery exhibit more accessible.
“Anyone can do this. You don’t need a degree. You don’t need a lineage,” Toffic said. “Art should be accessible to anyone who wants to make it.”
Law, who hasn’t painted since seventh grade, is planning to participate himself. So is Bruce Pingree, manager of The Press Room. “Why not? I mean, come on,” he said. “I’m up for it.”
More than 50 people have signed up to participate in ArtPM on its Facebook page, and more than 40 more indicated they are considering it, as of last week. Artists are not restricted by media or size, and some plan to make crafts, jewelry, paintings or sculptures.
“I’ve always hated when people say, ‘I wish I could make that.’ I’ve always felt that anyone could,” Toffic said. “Like with writing when you find your voice, you just need to find your style and find your passion.”
Participants must either drop off a CD with photographs of each of the four artworks at The Press Room between noon and midnight on March 1 or mail it with a postmarked date no later than March 1. Artist’s statements are encouraged but not required. Artists are asked to make note of their two favorites out of the four works to narrow down the selection process.
An exhibit and opening reception is planned for the month of March with details depending on the level of participation. Tentative plans are for a group show at Buoy, which will open possibilities for smaller shows elsewhere, possibly coinciding with RPM listening parties on March 28.
Publisher's note: In the process of reporting this story, Chloe Johnson became so engaged by the idea that she is now volunteering with the non-profit event.
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