Won't You be My Neighbor?
Michael Bernard Stevenson Jr. and Cassandra BullCurators and Alfred Alumnx, Artist Michael Bernard Stevenson Jr. and Cassandra Bull, present a collaborative, community-based exhibition. This exhibition, entitled Won't You Be My Neighbor? will be on view from Thursday, August 22 to Friday, October 4, 2019 at the Cohen Gallery on Main Street in Alfred. The opening reception will take place on Friday, August 30 from 5:00 pm - 8:00 pm.
Won't You be my Neighbor? was conceived by Stevenson, who wanted to break down the divide between Alfred University/ Alfred State College and permanent Alfred community members through the making of art. Both Stevenson & Bull regard their college experiences as being significantly enhanced and molded by interacting with residents beyond the academic structure. At its core, Won’t You Be My Neighbor? pairs current Allegany county residents with student or recently graduated artists practicing in the Alfred region. Throughout the summer, over fifty paired community members and artists spent time forming relationships; together sharing stories, learning about each other’s lives, and ultimately coming to regard each other as friends and neighbors. The artists created artworks collaboratively about/with/for their new "neighbor" which commemorate the summer experience – on display at the Cohen Gallery.
In mid-April and early June Stevenson, Bull, and Gallery Director Caitlin Brown hosted three events to kick off their curatorial plan. The first event was called A Gathering of Artists, in which Stevenson and Bull introduced their idea with their prospective team of artists. At the second event, entitled A Gathering of Neighbors, they presented a four course meal to community members at the Union University. Stevenson, Bull and Brown then worked together to develop pairs of “neighbors” based on their personality traits. The third event entitled A Shaking of Hands took place during the Makers on Main Street event in early June. During this event, artists and community members were introduced and from there the project launched.
Throughout the course of the exhibition, ancillary programs will be presented in Alfred and at the Cohen Gallery, including a community farm-to table cooking event, field trips, community discussions, a creek walk, an historical lecture, artist talks, an ice cream social and more, all designed to tell the story of Alfred and to deepen the connections within our overlapping communities. Gallery visitors will have the opportunity to take part in this project during gallery open hours: Tuesday – Friday 11:00 am - 5:00 pm, Thursday till 7:00 pm and weekend hours 12:00 pm - 4:00 pm.
This exhibition has been generously supported by Nicholas Dosch, Andrea and John Gill, and the Career Development Center, Alfred Foundations, the Division of Sculpture and Dimensional Studies and the Division of Expanded Media, all at Alfred University.
Cohen Gallery exhibits the work of Alfred University alumni, faculty, and visiting artists. The Gallery provides Alfred University students with hands-on experience in arts administration, community development, marketing and public relations, design, and management. Students assist in all facets of the exhibitions, from designing the space to preparing promotional materials and acting as docents during the shows. Cohen Gallery seeks to create opportunities for students, faculty, and alumni to engage in the professional activities of curating and organizing art exhibitions from the ground up, thus providing valuable experience in the business aspects of art. Cohen Gallery also provides a supportive environment for exhibitions that serve regional constituencies, such as regional arts councils, public schools, and exchanges between regional art programs at the university level.
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Once a fraternity house, this turn-of-the-century Victorian house was converted to an art gallery on the first floor, Cohen Gallery, with apartments for visiting artists and faculty members on the second floor. In a newly constructed building behind the house is Cohen Studios, housing Freshman Foundation studios and wide-open, flexible spaces for various projects.More Info