Before you get overwhelmed by the crowds, get to know what you can expect from the artists at Art for the Cash Poor 14. This week’s featured artist is Robert Bullock of self-taught artists’ collective Coalition Ingenu.
Can you tell me about Coalition Ingenu?
In 1995, I volunteered to help an organization that worked with people who were diagnosed with mental illnesses. Some of them were visual artists, and they wanted to find a place to have an art show. I found a gallery in Old City, collected and framed all the artwork myself, but it was not enough to fill the space. I went to other non-profit art programs in hospitals and homeless shelters and discovered that there were several places like this where people were making very interesting artwork but they had no system in place for exhibiting it.
I resolved to create that system, and chose the name Coalition Ingenu because “Coalition” suggests a group of organizations working together, and Ingenu is from the French word, Ingenue – which means naïve. It is also the root word for such English words as “ingenious, ingenuous, ingenuity and genuine.
Our mission is to foster an appreciation for the pure creative process, independent of results, and help to establish an alternative to art built upon layers of academic tradition.
What are some of your favorite events that you’ve participated in so far?
Since 1995, we’ve assembled or presented over 170 exhibits of art by self-taught artists. Some have been in community centers, hospitals, churches, bookstores, restaurants and even bars. Some have been at National and Statewide Conferences, but many have been in pretty high-end galleries and museums. We had a great show at the Esther Klein Gallery on Market Street, several exhibits at the Allens Lane Art Center, two at the University City Arts League, four shows at various Old City Galleries, a few colleges, the Noyes in Oceanville, NJ, HAI Gallery in NYC, the Philadelphia Museum of Art. We even had a show as far south as Durham, NC. But I think my favorite place so far was the Philadelphia Magic Gardens on South Street.
Can you tell me about the work you will have for sale at Art for the Cash Poor 14?
Hand-picked, nicely-framed and mostly smaller pieces by several different self-taught artists, from the 84 year old visionary Renee Leshner to the well-known British outsider Michelle Kral. Also some of my own work will be on display and some beautifully weird isolated pieces by various other members of the Collective. Most of it would be considered outsider, folk, visionary, naïve, or primitive.
Have you ever participated in AFTCP before?
Yes. It’s a fun-filled, energetic and very artsy atmosphere – very well managed and festive. That’s why we’re back.
What are you looking forward to most about the event?
Meeting people. Talking about what we do. Drinking a beer or two from the Philadelphia Brewing Company and listening to some great local musicians.
Do you have any other upcoming events?
Several. We have one at Art in City Hall beginning the very next day (June 10) with an opening on June 13. We also have a first Friday opening the day before the AFTCP event (on June 7) at the Atlantis Bar and Grill on Frankford St. Both will be up at least until the end of July. In August I have a solo show at Sweet Mabel in Narberth. We have a fund-raiser silent auction thing in September that should be a fabulous event — and then another big exhibit at Isaiah Zagars’ Philadelphia Magic Gardens in October.