Ceramic Industry

PPP: The Washington Outdoor Art Exhibit

March 1, 2011
Erh Ping Tsai (left) and Cynthia Chuang (center) are a husband and wife team that design handcrafted porcelain jewelry.


A child admires Chuang's jewelry designs.

The Washington Square Outdoor Art Exhibit takes place each year on Memorial Day weekend and the following weekend and on Labor Day weekend and the following weekend. The event showcases fine artists and craft artisans from the New York metropolitan area, the nation and the world. Visitors to the exhibit include art lovers, interior designers, tourists, and faculty and students from the area's many schools.

A visitor examines Mike Hirsh's sculpture.

Origins of the Exhibit

The art exhibit began in the spring of 1931, in the heart of the Depression era. Jackson Pollock, in desperate need of funds to pay the rent on his Greenwich Village studio (which also served as his home) took a few of his iconoclastic paintings down several flights of stairs and set them up on the sidewalk near Washington Square Park. His friend and fellow Village artist, Willem DeKooning, in equally desperate financial straits, soon joined him.

It is not known how many works of art-whose values would soon skyrocket-they sold that day. However, their enterprise was noted by some public-spirited citizens, including such luminaries of the art world as Gertrude Vanderbilt Whitney, founder of the Whitney Museum of Art; and Alfred H. Barr, Jr., director of the Museum of Modern Art. They organized the art show that would evolve into the Washington Square Outdoor Art Exhibit.

Early exhibitors included Village artists Alice Neel, Saul Berman and Ilya Bolotowski. Beauford Delaney made the trip from Harlem. Now, the exhibit is a showcase for artists both local and international, and is attended by art lovers from all over the world. Artists are selected by a jury of their peers, based on submitted slides of their work. No longer are nudes banned from the show; in addition, photography is now recognized as an art form and crafts can be displayed, provided each piece is a one-of-a-kind, handmade item.

Cash prizes, donated by individuals, organizations and corporations, are awarded in various categories based on selection by artist-judges

For additional details, visit www.wsoae.org.

SIDEBAR: Information for Artists

For the spring show, registration and images for jurying are due by April 20. Acceptances will be mailed no later than April 20. Applications received after the deadline dates will be considered as circumstances permit. The earlier applications are received, the sooner applicants will be notified of acceptance.

Exhibitors may show work only in the categories in which they are accepted. Signing of all work is encouraged and all work must be priced and for sale. The sale of T-shirts is prohibited. In addition, every exhibitor must have a NYS Certificate of Authority to Collect Sales Tax, also known as NYS Form DTF-17. More information can be found at http://wsoae.wordpress.com.

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