1708 Gallery presents 3x3: Summer Sessions, the latest segment in its community engagement program. For the past two summers, 1708 has facilitated community engagement projects that imagine the gallery as an active community space, inviting artists to experiment with innovative and participatory projects. In 2015, 1708 hosted 10x10 (Richmond Takes the Gallery), for which 10 artists and nonprofits were each given the gallery for one week. In 2016, 5x5 (Summer Studio Sessions) invited five artists to each engage the gallery space for 2-week sessions.
3x3: Summer Sessions extends this mission out into the community, presenting three sociallyengaged projects that connect with communities outside the gallery. Socially-engaged art focuses on social and cultural issues impacting contemporary society, imagining the artist as community organizer or activist. The 3x3 projects (detailed below) engage the community through partnerships and collaborations, and participatory activities. While much of the work will take place outside the gallery, 1708 will serve as a hub, providing work space for each artist. Open to the public, audiences are invited to engage with these artists and their projects across the summer as artists provide ongoing updates and progress reports.
Additional programming will include presentations by the participating artists and workshops with Mark Strandquist and Debbie Quick.
Finally, 1708 invites the community to participate in a cultural mapping exercise that seeks to identify a broad community of visual artists and cultural organizations.
3x3 Project Details
Virginia River Healers / Dig it Up - Rivers without Coal Ash
Virginia River Healers are a group of artists and activists working to address regional water rights that relate to coal ash waste. The VRH launched the Dig It UP campaign in 2016 to vocalize the need to remove coal ash waste from the banks of the James River. For 3x3, Virginia River Healers will continue these conversations and their ongoing critical planning. VRH will hold public meetings for communities in Chesterfield, Chesapeake, and Richmond. These communities will be asked to imagine what the waste sites could look like if the coal ash was removed. The drawings and plans that represent these visions will be on view at 1708 and will ultimately serve as a form of community directive to be used as part of a public awareness campaign.
Hillary Waters Fayle / Grass Roots
Hillary’s mission is to inspire awareness of and stewardship for urban green spaces. She will create an ethno-botanical map of Jackson Ward made by documenting the plant life and collecting specimens that she identifies around the neighborhood —in residents’ yards, in city-managed sites, and growing wild. The map will include photographs and artworks and will be created at 1708 during the summer. Additionally, a self-published book of the collected conversations, photographs, and other relevant information or ephemera will be printed after the project is completed, a copy of which will be donated to the Historic Jackson Ward Association. Finally, Beautiful RVA’s Ginter Urban Gardener Program is currently working with the community of Jackson Ward. Fayle will connect with this group of Jackson Ward neighbors for collaboration to expand the neighborhood’s green spaces.
Sayaka Suzuki / Drifting Dreamers
Suzuki’s project invites diverse audiences to consider the word “immigration.” These responses will be written on upcycled fabric of various shades of blue (to reference the traditional Indigo used in Sashiko, a traditional embroidery technique of rural Japan). These thoughts, fears, dreams, and hopes of the people will be stitched together to create a life-sized fiber boat bonded together by the thickness of fabric and structural integrity only attained by its layering effects. This sculpture will function as both a metaphor for this moment in history and the strength of diverse ideas. Suzuki hopes that through this idea of sharing personal histories and ideas, people will begin to see the current situation of the world’s immigrants with more of an empathetic mindset.