Collaborative art exhibit at Public Space One


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The papier-mâché car protruding from a mural-covered wall immediately captures the eye of anyone who steps into the Public Space One gallery; swirling colors flow across the floor, and in the next room, chairs are piled on top of each other in a many-legged sculpture.

These works were created by Artists' Mark'it, a group of local artists working collaboratively to create a series of exhibitions throughout September. The series will culminate at 7 p.m. Oct. 2 with a closing reception at Public Space One, 129 E. Washington St.

The only rule of the shows was that each piece must have been worked on by at least two artists — any artists, regardless of age, talent, skill, or personal artistic preference. All the shows also featured performance artists and snacks.

"What's so good about a collaborative shows is that you get rid of all the pretentious people, the snobby and uptight people, because you have to be willing to work with differences," said UI graduate Ryan Bentzinger.

He and Kirkwood student Taylor Ross organized the show after Bentzinger collaborated on a piece with UI student Nicole Dana last spring. They liked the idea of an entire exhibition made up of collaborative works, and Artists' Mark'it was born. Bentzinger said the community they created is a diverse one.

Artists' Mark'it comprises around 15 artists who worked throughout the show. The group wanted to try to connect with as many artists in the community as possible, so that all could learn as much as they could from each other while growing and progressing in their own art.

"The goal of Artists' Mark'it is to help network local artists who otherwise wouldn't have the tools to create or put forth action on ideas that they created solely," Ross said.

The aesthetic of the exhibition is greatly inspired by street art and has a vibrant, youthful feel. To create the pieces, artists either came up with an idea together, or one artist started a piece and passed it on to whoever wanted to work on it.

"Essentially, it was organized vandalism," Dana said.

The closing reception will feature a performance by Techno Lincoln and the Technicolor Union. Bentzinger said the organizers hope to have all the work created throughout the month covering the walls and to have most of the artists in attendance.

"I just want it to be complete madness," he said.

The artists involved said they value what they've learned from each other and the experience of being able to participate in a unique show. Dana said working with so many talented people was a little bit intimidating but mostly inspiring.

"I don't really care about selling anything because that's not what it's about at all," she said. "Giving people the opportunity to see artwork in this way is really what we wanted."

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