Have a Seat: A Week-Long Art Salon Is Afoot

DSC00105Courtesy Animus Art Salon

Once a month, an eclectic band of experimental artists assembles for an evening of community, inspiration and presentation. Tonight, the Animamus Art Salon kicks off its most ambitious project yet: a week-long Living Salon at the hybrid bar and art gallery, Culture Fix. Works by fifty artists will line the walls, priced $100 each. Four artists-in-residence will set up makeshift studios, and daily events include a tea salon, movie night, a trendy gem spa, and a poetry “brunch.”

The Salon began in 2011 when a frustrated photographer who goes by her first name, Ventiko, decided to convene other artists struggling with similar issues. Now she is at the heart of a roving support group of sorts. “We never talk about the darkness,” said Ventiko of the self-doubt many artists deal with regarding to their personal artwork. “It’s not considered ‘cool’ to discuss anxiety when there’s so much pretension out there, but our group is all about giving somebody the chance to really express themselves in front of an audience that is encouraging.”

The monthly gatherings are something like master-class critiques. “The idea is to get up there, show your ideas, and people make suggestions and ask questions,” explained Michael Blase, a Lower East Side-based photographer and frequent participant and time-keeper. “Sometimes people collaborate afterwards.”

BY_LAURA_Blüer Laura Blüer

With over fifty artists contributing visual art, performance, film, and poetry readings, the Salon’s network has spilled outside of New York. Artists from as far away as Wisconsin, London, Sweden and China have all submitted work to the show. Alaska-based photographer Adina Preston said she learned about it from a contact on Facebook and jumped at the chance to connect with a wider group of artists. “We need this kind of development in our art these days, and not only in the major metropolitan cities,” she said, lamenting that she hadn’t found a similar community in her city.

DSC00093Courtesy Animus Art Salon

The Living Salon’s format will give these artists an opportunity for more exposure. It also takes advantage of Culture Fix’s “sky’s-the-limit” approach, and its resolution to stage a new exhibition each week in the new year. During movie night, on Wednesday, a $14 prix fixe menu will feature tamales, sumac-cured duck with chorizo apple rice, and mini cupcakes.

Depending on when they visit, guests to the Salon will be invited to watch new performances or short films, glimpse artists at work, or simply gaze at the artwork and chat over tea. And of course, they will likely be encouraged to pursue any artistic aspirations they may harbor. “I want new people to attend; I want the conversations to be fresh and new ideas to happen,” said Ventiko. “I don’t want to keep it the same ever. It should always be different.”

Animus Art Salon at Culture Fix is at 9 Clinton Street (between Houston and Stanton Streets); (646) 863-7171. Full schedule here.