Node Center goes to New York!

June 1, 2016

In the timeless words of Frank Sinatra:

“Start spreading the news, I’m leaving today.
I want to be a part of it, New York, New York!!”

For the last two weeks of April, I headed to the Big Apple to make the first steps of a collaboration between Node Center’s Art DepartmentFlux Factory and the New York Foundation for the Arts. We are teaming up together to develop a research project titled Sharing Perspectives: reporting the impact of the arts internationally.

Sharing Perspectives will be a project that gathers and presents many different personal experiences and relationships with art as a way to better understand how the arts can and could have an impact on individuals, communities, and the world around us today. The project is based on subjective experiences, so we are just starting to gather our research through conversations and a soon to be launched international survey (stay tuned!). Both the survey and conversations will cross a wide array of individuals internationally from artists and curators to scientists, teachers, hairdressers, philosophers and more.


Brainstorming in the meeting rooms of NYFA. Photo: Lauren Reid

During my time there, the Sharing Perspectives team of Flux Factory’s Residency Director Carina Kaufman-Gutierrez, NYFA Director and Curator David C. Terry, and myself; along with NYFA Program Officer Jacque Donaldson and NYFA Program Associate Madeline Scholl, spent our time in the meeting rooms of NYFA developing the foundations of the project.

To start the ball rolling, we held a cocktail evening on the Flux Factory rooftop for the Flux and NYFA teams. The group shared their thoughts on what they feel it is that art can do. Some of the thoughts that came up were that art – both making and encountering – can be a means of communication, create spaces of freedom, challenge expectations and open up dreamstates.


Photo: Jacque Donaldson

On the final Friday of the trip, we held a happy hour at NYFA with over 30 invited guests. The group shared their earliest art memories, which ranged from the wonder of first discovering that blue and yellow make green; to building planes and lighting them on fire; to making cornbread with grandfather; to falling in love with a painting, stealing it, copying it and replacing it with the forged copy (!). To this day it seems that this master forger got away with their deception.

The group then split off to brainstorm around the questions:

– How do you believe art should function?

– What is a moment when art challenged your idea of how it should function?

Immediately this sparked heated debate about whether or not art should have a function at all and how we define the word ‘function’, with some rewording the first question to ‘What do you want art to do?’. Some of these wants were for art to be transcendent and for it to challenge and engage with the human condition.


Photo: Jacque Donaldson


Photo: Jacque Donaldson


Photo: Jacque Donaldson


Team Sharing Perspectives! left – right: Lauren Reid (Node Center), Carina Kaufman-Gutierrez (Flux Factory), Madeline Scholl (NYFA), David C. Terry (NYFA), Jacque Donaldson (NYFA). Photo: Jacque Donaldson

During my time there, I not only had the pleasure of working with Flux Factory but living there too and taking part in the everyday collective life of the residency. This included joining their Monday meetings where all of the residents come together for dinner to discuss everything from who forgot to sweep the stairs to how the programming of the exhibitions will run for the year.


The wonderful artist Hadi Nasiri cooking up a storm in the Flux Factory kitchen. Photo: Lauren Reid

After two wonderful weeks together, we are continuing our work from our respective locations, connecting via the power of the internet to develop the next stages of Sharing Perspectives. Stay tuned as the project progresses!


Flux Factory, located in Queens, Long Island City, is a dynamic artist residency with collaboration at its heart. First established in 1993 by seven artists as an alternative platform to the commercial gallery scene, Flux Factory has since evolved according to the needs and interests of its constantly changing collective, with the aim to support and promote emerging artists. They host exhibitions, events, talks and most recently their annual Flux-a-Thon, which involved teams of artists and marchers parading through the streets of Long Island City with their best mobile art projects, floats, performances, and roving spectacles – even Lady Gaga made an appearance.

New York Foundation for the Arts (NYFA) is an independent organization founded to empower emerging artists and arts organizations across all disciplines by providing and administering a vast range of resources from learning and professional development tools to grants and awards. They provide important services to those who are at critical stages in their creative lives and professional/organizational development throughout the United States and the international community.


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