InLight: Grounds for Clearing - Call for Proposals

1708 Gallery is pleased to announce its call for proposals for its 17th annual 2-night exhibition of contemporary art outside. InLight: Grounds for Clearing, will take place November 8 thru 9, 2024 at Pine Camp Cultural Arts and Community Center, located at 4901 Old Brook Road in Richmond, Virginia. InLight features new media, sound art, light-based media, sculpture, installation, performance, community-based works, and interactive and virtual projects that are experienced in the dark, and moves to a new location each year. Past sites include Bryan Park, Chimborazo Park, Great Shiplock Park, Richmond’s downtown Arts District, and the sculpture garden and grounds of the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts. Every year, InLight examines the complex and sometimes conflicted histories of Richmond's public spaces, reflecting community dialogues about which stories are shared and how they are told. This year’s InLight curators are Tiffany E. Barber and Nicole Pollard.

Taking Pine Camp’s history and topography as inspiration, InLight: Grounds for Clearing will explore the material and metaphorical facets of open space. The Oxford Dictionary defines a clearing as “an open space in a forest, especially one cleared for cultivation;” in Toni Morrison’s novel Beloved, the clearing is a space for healing and for Black revival, a place for Black folks to love and care for themselves outside of the white gaze. When Pine Camp first came to be, it was a clearing – a space carved out of the pine woods, far outside of the city where people went to heal. A former farm and site of both a whites-only and separate Black Tuberculosis Hospital listed on the National Register of Historic Places, Pine Camp today is a multidisciplinary, multiracial community space that offers a theater, dance studio, art classes, darkroom, playground, basketball court, soccer field, walking trails, nature reserves, and public artworks.

For this year’s exhibition, 1708 invites regional, national, and international artists, collectives, and community organizations working in all media and disciplines to submit entries that engage with and respond to the histories that comprise Pine Camp and its surrounding terrain.

Pine Camp’s history stretches back to Virginia’s colonial settlements of the early 1600s, and the site was part of the agricultural land north of the city of Richmond during the periods leading up to the end of the Civil War. After, Pine Camp became City Farm (1866-1909), producing food for city institutions, such as the jail and the city almshouse. The city also utilized the farm in the early twentieth century as an isolation ward for those with highly contagious diseases, especially smallpox, and it was popularly known as “the pest house.” At this time, Pine Camp became a private, whites-only Tuberculosis hospital where isolation, rest, and fresh air in pleasant surroundings were the first lines of disease treatment. This site’s impressive pine trees added to this treatment as they have been shown to have antimicrobial properties. Pine trees are also important because of their durable timber and fast growth. In 1936 the city established a separate Black infirmary. Space in the infirmary was very limited, and it was demolished in 1957 after the main hospital closed. Remains from the hospital, such as bottles and bedpans, can still be found on the site to this day.

For InLight: Grounds for Clearing, artists are invited to propose projects that engage with and expand upon Pine Camp’s histories as well as the site’s current activities and uses. Successful projects will incorporate the site’s topography; its history surrounding race and public health; its wildlife as well as its native flora and fauna; weather and climate patterns as well as ecological and environmental change in the U.S. upper south; and Pine Camp’s current significance to its surrounding communities. Artists are encouraged to consult and incorporate extant digital archival photographs, site maps, and other materials into their proposals. The curatorial team is especially interested in proposals that address ideas around rest and healing, isolation and exile, preservation and reclamation, and fresh air and nature as forms of respite and remedy.

An honorarium of $1,000 per project,
Significant production and technical support,
Support includes technical expertise and production equipment such as large format projectors and sound systems and/or fabrication or material assistance, and
Recognition and inclusion in all InLight media.

Application Deadline:2024-05-22
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