Neighborhood House’s Urban Gallery turns inside out this year. The Urban Gallery, a open air exhibition that uses the non-profit’s suite of garage doors as a canvas for public art, was first installed four years ago when the 337 Project was asked to invite individual artists to decorate each of the nine doors. In following years the 337 Project incorporated a variety of contests — artist teams, timed events, individual competitions — into the exhibitions. This year Neighborhood House has decided to shift course, tone-down their palette and join an international project that focuses on community art projects that are a force for positive change.
“We’ve been doing this for four years and we wanted something different but something that still represents public art,” says Neighborhood House Development Director Jennifer Nuttall. “When we came across the Inside Out project it seemed a perfect fit. Connecting to community, even a global community, resonated with why we do the Urban Gallery at all.”
Inside Out is a large-scale, global art project established by French artist JR, who transforms images of personal identity into community art. The project asks the question, “Can art change the world?” and is attempting to answer that question with portraits in nearly ten thousand locations across the globe.
Neighborhood House is the first location in Utah to join the project. Volunteer photographer Michael Schoenfeld worked for four hours, shooting over 80 portraits of community members, mostly from Salt Lake’s West Side. Many were clients of Neighborhood House, which provides quality, affordable day care and support services to low-income children and adults based on their ability to pay. Also invited to participate were a number of prominent members of the community: business owners, volunteers, community leaders.
“We got exactly the cross-section we were hoping for,” says Nuttall. “People of all ages, involved in the community in different ways.”
A group of artists selected images and arranged them in a collage to be pasted on the doors. The Inside Out project printed the images poster-size, shipped them back and a group of volunteers installed them on the doors earlier this week.
Neighborhood House will be open as a special guest for the September Salt Lake Gallery Stroll, and the curious are invited to drive by or stop in to take a look between 6 and 9 pm Friday night.
“I’m excited to have this project part of Gallery Stroll,” says Gallery Stroll director Kristina Robb. ” JR’s work was what turned me from anthropology to art, so I’m excited to see Salt Lake become part of this global project.”
Neighborhood House’s annual fundraiser happens Saturday, September 22nd, and the new, inside-out edition of the Urban Gallery will be up through next summer.