Art in Print is one of our favorite Zone 3 initiatives, designed to make collecting art more accessible, approachable and fun! Launched in 2018 with the installation of four repurposed newspaper bins along Western Ave, we designed a program to reimagine how the community would engage and view public art . For each volume, ten local artists are commissioned to create limited-edition newsprint posters, available for purchase for 25 cents. These works range from paintings and photography to digital art, collage, illustration, sculpture, and more. Putting a quarter in the slot to buy a newspaper may seem like a lost ritual, but now, it’s a way to collect new art!
CONSTRUCTING AN ECOSYSTEM OF CREATIVES
The Art in Print program has a very low barrier to entry by design, especially since most of the prints feature works of art that were not created specifically for this project. For some of these artists it’s the first time they have seen their work in print. For others, it’s their foray into public art. We often hear that this program makes artists think differently about presenting their work, by going beyond the white cube of a gallery.
This process allows us to start working relationships and build upon our creative ecosystem. It’s a way for people to get their foot in the door, but it doesn’t end there. Many of the artists often go on to participate in other Zone 3 and neighboring programs, such as hosting a Drinking + Drawing session, designing a mural on Western Ave, or participating in an artist panel. The exposure they gain from our network may also lead them to other opportunities with galleries, creative agencies, and beyond.
We measure the engagement of the program not just through physical engagement but through digital interactions as well. Before releasing each volume, we interview each participating artist so that we can directly promote their work across all of Zone 3’s digital platforms. On social media, we create an artist spotlight using posts and stories that tag and highlight each artist. On Zone 3’s website, we create a webpage for each artist containing a fun Q&A along with plenty of links directing traffic toward the artist’s website and social channels.
Essentially, we think of Zone 3’s digital platforms as a place to uplift the people behind the artwork through a variety of touchpoints. Our goal with this is to increase artist exposure and encourage Zone 3’s audience to continue to follow and support participating artists beyond simply collecting their Art in Print piece.
PUBLIC ART AS A WAYFINDING TOOL
Our work doesn’t stop when an Art in Print collection is released. We evaluate community interest and impact from a variety of lenses throughout the lifespan of each volume. We’ve placed the art-filled newspaper bins at strategic locations along the one mile Western Ave corridor. Monthly, we collect quarters from the bins and are able to compare the foot traffic to a local Allston business with the foot traffic to the Grove (a publicly accessible green space). This insight allows us to identify which areas of the corridor receive more visitors. A possible outcome of knowing this might be to target our next Zone 3 program toward an area of the corridor that struggles to attract pedestrians, encouraging residents and visitors to patronize local businesses.
In addition to highlighting local artists, putting dollars into the creative economy, and learning more about the flow of the neighborhood, the Art in Print newspaper bins have added color and excitement to the streetscape. The initiative gives people another reason to get out of the house, walk around and support local artists! Especially during a pandemic, we have had a lot of fun promoting this COVID-friendly outing.
It’s a self-guided opportunity to collect art, open 24/7! It’s a reason to get out of the house with friends and enjoy some fresh air, whether you’re grabbing coffee at Pavement and walking down to The Grove, or starting your journey from the Weeks footbridge and strolling down to The Harvard Ed Portal. The one mile route has done a great job leading people from one end of the corridor to the other. It unifies the area, helps people to realize how walkable the neighborhood is, and let’s people see what the area has to offer in a new way. There are plenty of other public art pieces to stop and admire along the way, too, just look to the Western Ave Arts Walk, an accessible 1.3 mile route that chronicles public art all along the Western Ave. corridor.
Print is Certainly Not Dead
Since the start of the program, we have worked with and paid a stipend to 102 Boston-area artists. Not to mention, we have produced and distributed over 6,400 posters into the hands of the public. We print everything through our friends at Newspaper Club, an amazing online team that is reinventing newsprint to make it more exciting, versatile and affordable than ever. The Art in Print initiative has grown from 4 newspaper bins to 6, with our latest additions living outside of the new Harvard Science & Engineering Complex at 135 Western Ave, directly across from the latest Walls on Western mural by Sophy Tuttle, and most recently at the Honan-Allston Boston Public Library branch at 300 N. Harvard St.
We’re thrilled that Volume 10 is hot off the press! Don’t miss this special *holiday edition* of Art in Print that doubles as wrapping paper. In the coming days as you are out shopping for gifts and running errands, we urge you to stop along Western Ave to collect a few posters, because artist-made gifts deserve to be wrapped in artist-made paper! Not only will you be supporting these efforts of putting art in the wild, it is also an easy way to reduce and reuse this holiday season.
Are you interested in getting involved with a future volume or other public art project? Fill out the artist inquiry form on the Zone 3 website and drop your name on our website to be notified about future Opportunities for Creatives.
With over 100 very different prints, it’s almost impossible to pick a favorite, but we tried.
Read on to hear which poster resonated most with each member of the IP staff:
Print name: Ultraviolet
Artist: Madison Arrichiello
What draws you to this print? This surrealist collage opens up a window into a magical world. Each element comes together to create a sense of peace and nostalgia that warms the heart and transports the viewer into a field of flowers and vintage cars, far far away. The cool colors of the landscape and the incredible rainbow sunset above really speak to me and yes, I have this one framed in my house.
Print name: Everything is Fine
Artist: Matt Paul
What draws you to this print? The uplifting messaging that could be interpreted as ironic amidst elements of visual chaos. The layering and how each color interacts with one another, especially where it appears subtly through the lettering. The context in this having been created during the pandemic is a reminder of the healing aspect of expression and its ability to help us maintain hope and community through trying times.
Print name: Heat
Artist: Sophie Calhoun
What draws you to this print? I love that this print looks almost like a photograph at a glance, but on a closer look you can see the hand drawn elements. It’s such a fun idea, to lay down in a cast iron pan and just sizzle. Being from Florida I can relate to this sentiment of a nice relaxing time while also burning alive, and Sophie captured this feeling perfectly.
Print name: Ruby
Artist: Mattaya Fitts
What draws you to this print? The use of color, style and texture, all together, immediately captured my attention the first time I saw ‘Ruby’. The woman in this piece possesses a strength and power that makes the viewer stop and ponder who she is and what she is after. The playfulness of her lashes, the golden beam striking across her face and carefully placed fish over her left shoulder lead me to wonder and ask questions about ‘Ruby’. The artist also does a wonderful job leaving the viewer with unanswered questions and wanting to know more.
Print name: Life Before Death
Artist: Rebecca Schnopp
What draws you to this print? The print itself feels super tactile even though it’s 2d. I have an urge to reach out and touch the fruits just to see what it would feel like in my hand. Plus, the push pins emerging from the forms kind of turn the idea of a still life on its head which I love.
Print name: Two Sides
Artist: Muideen Ogunmola
What draws you to this print? You never forget a first impression. Muideen’s print was one of the first we sourced for volume 1, and its still my favorite after all this time. The message really resonated with me amidst everything that was happening politically, and his print is so intricate and beautiful. Every time I look at it I see something new
Print name: On a Bed of Flowers
Artist: Caroline Stjarborg
What draws you to this print? I like the simplicity of this print. The flowers are so delicate and stand out starkly from the black background. The contrast of the snake – an animal that is often feared – and the beautiful flowers soften the snake. I really like that white, green, and black are the only colors used to tell the story.
Print Name: Con Leche
Artist: Rixy Fz
What draws you to this print: I really enjoy the level of detail + color within this print. There are really small details and colors that add life to the print; which in turn give the print a personality of its own. There is also the factor that this print is titled in Spanish which gives it more of an organic feel to the artist herself.
Print name: Ode to LA #15
Artist: Maya Erdelyi
What draws you to this print? The colors and chaos of this print gives me a ridiculous amount of joy. I am very big into wrapping presents around the holidays and always trying to raise the bar, so I was very excited to pick up a few of these prints in the latest release. We loved working with Maya at the Studio Allston Hotel a few years ago, too!
Now it’s your turn to pick a favorite!
Now through January 5, you can vote for your favorite print from the series. The top 12 will be featured in a free printed wall calendar, dropping early next year!