Participants in The Laundromat Project’s 2009 Create Change Public Artist Residency Program leveraged the space of local laundromats to engage their neighbors in a process of public art making that ranges from multimedia installation to an anonymous hotline for airing out “dirty laundry.” From October 17 – December 12, 2009 in a group show designed by the team at SUPERFRONT, a gallery focused on architectural experimentation, the general public was invited to experience these otherwise separate public works located across Brooklyn and Queens in their shared context of building community in a too often alienating city. The installation opened with a reception on Saturday, October 17, 2009 from 6 p.m. – 9 p.m at SUPERFRONT.
Each year, The Laundromat Project sponsors three artists of color to develop neighborhood-specific artworks through its Create Change Public Artist Residency Program. Following selection by a juried process, participating artists are charged with creating socially-relevant works using the space of their local laundromat to meet and engage their neighbors. This year’s Create Change artists: Carlos Martinez, Michael Premo, and Tracee Worley, have approached their projects from different perspectives and media, yet thematically converge through the act of public testimony.
In his Photo Booth Without Borders, Carlos A. Martinez created a portable photo booth to travel to area laundromats in search of what his fellow Jackson Heights residents thought made (or could make) one of the most diverse neighborhoods in the country a more livable community for old and new New Yorkers alike.
Michael Premo’s Housing is a Human Right, developed in collaboration with Rachel Falcone, explores the concept of home and community through a collection of audio portraits of his neighbors’ ongoing efforts to maintain or obtain affordable housing. Marked by image and sound, this assemblage of viscerally honest first person narratives serve as a reminder that home is as tenuous a space in New York City as the shelter that sustains it.
Tracee Worley has created an experiment in neighborhood communication through The Dirty Laundry Line a toll free number and accompanying website that allows callers to come clean. Begun in Bed-Stuy and now spread to neighborhoods in Chicago and Oakland, the 800-hotline lets laundry patrons across the country purge secret shames, scandals, and betrayals by leaving an anonymous voicemail. Doubling as a cathartic forum and a voyeur’s delight, the hotline also offers the option of snooping through other people’s dirty laundry.
About The Laundromat Project
The Laundromat Project is a community based arts organization committed to promoting the well-being of low-income communities of color. Understanding that creativity is a central component of healthy human beings; vibrant neighborhoods; and thriving economies, The LP’s programs bring art to where people already are: the laundromat. Its two core programs, Works in Progress and Create Change Public Artist Residency Program, focus on making art education broadly accessible for all ages and skill levels, as well as providing professional development opportunities for artists of color looking to build or deepen a community-engaged art making practice by creating new public works in their own neighborhoods.