Bringing Art To Your Door: Project Dispatch (Transcript) | WAMU 88.5 - American University Radio

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Bringing Art to Your Door: Project Dispatch

MS. REBECCA SHEIR

13:50:34
Buying a first work of art can be a pretty big deal. After all, you have to consider the medium, the size, the colors, the price. All of these things can come into play when you're thinking about forking over hundreds, thousands, sometimes even millions of dollars.

MS. REBECCA SHEIR

13:50:50
Our next story, however, is about a totally different way of buying art. It was developed by two graduates of the Corcoran College of Art and Design, D.C. based artists Rachel England and Chandi Kelly.

MS. RACHEL ENGLAND

13:51:02
We were sending each other artwork and really loving that exchange. Then, we just thought why wouldn't people want to pay for this? We can do this.

SHEIR

13:51:09
Kelly now organizes a group of more than 20 local artists known collectively as "Project Dispatch." They sell their art the same way you'd sell magazines, by subscription. You pay the fee, anywhere from $25 to $75 a month and twelve times a year a new piece of artwork arrives wrapped up in a nice little package, right at your door. Emily Friedman has more.

MR. BRIAN DILLION

13:51:32
So my name's Brian Dillion.

MR. JORGE HUSMAN

13:51:34
And I'm Jorge Husman. We're sitting here in our apartment in Mount Pleasant.

MS. EMILY FRIEDMAN

13:51:38
Brian is finishing up his Ph.D. in linguistics and Jorge works for the federal government. They're art collectors, though they would never call themselves that.

DILLION

13:51:46
I'm not an art person and so I'm not, like, very familiar with the art scene, I guess.

FRIEDMAN

13:51:52
A friend of theirs had a subscription to Project Dispatch and the guys thought it was an interesting concept.

HUSMAN

13:51:57
We didn't really think about our subscription is going to be supporting this local artist. We kind of just liked it and we're like let's do this.

FRIEDMAN

13:52:03
They've been liking the stuff they get, well, most of it.

HUSMAN

13:52:06
There was one that we weren't very thrilled about. Maybe this wasn't one that we liked but maybe the next one will.

FRIEDMAN

13:52:11
This is the final month of their subscription so by now they know the drill.

DILLION

13:52:16
It's always a nerve-wracking because you're kind of anxious to rip it open but you don't want to damage the art.

FRIEDMAN

13:52:23
Although they don't know it yet, the artwork Brian and Jorge will receive this month is from an illustrator named Elizabeth Graeber. Hi Elizabeth.

MS. ELIZABETH GRAEBER

13:52:30
Yes, hi.

FRIEDMAN

13:52:31
In her studio slash living room in Grover Park, she's about to draw two birds, one for Brian and one for Jorge.

GRAEBER

13:52:38
So I have my paper, my Bristol paper and my book of North American birds to draw from. I'm just happy to be drawing and that people like it so they want to buy it.

FRIEDMAN

13:52:47
Later, Graeber will package up the drawings and ship them off. Though Brian and Jorge live just across town, Project Dispatch has subscribers all over the country, 20 to 30 subscriptions go out each month and that's helping artists like Graeber, make a name for themselves.

MR. ANDY GRINDBERG

13:53:02
I think what they're doing is the next big thing. It solves a very real problem in the lives of young artists, which is how to get your work out there, how to get people interested in buying it and this is kind of the ground floor that.

FRIEDMAN

13:53:13
That's Andy Grindberg, former art critic for The New York Times, now Dean of undergraduate studies at the Corcoran College of Art and Design. One question remains however, is it a sensible investment?

GRINDBERG

13:53:24
I'm saying it's an investment in the future of contemporary art but it may not necessarily be an investment in your own bank account.

FRIEDMAN

13:53:31
That $50 piece might be worth more one day, he says, but it's not likely.

GRINDBERG

13:53:36
All contemporary art collectors put their money on some people with the expectation that with the right support and the right nurturing their work is going to get better, get a wider audience, become more valuable. What you're doing is supporting a merging artist who may pan out to be the great artist of the next generation.

FRIEDMAN

13:53:54
So Project Dispatch is about the art, but it's just as much as about the experience, tearing open a package and seeing what's inside.

HUSMAN

13:54:02
It's Elizabeth Graeber.

DILLION

13:54:03
Awesome.

HUSMAN

13:54:04
We love her.

FRIEDMAN

13:54:05
And just like that, these non-art collectors add another two pieces to their collection.

DILLION

13:54:10
Wait, are there two?

HUSMAN

13:54:11
Two, my God. This is awesome.

DILLION

13:54:13
No way. They're matching bird prints. That's really phenomenal.

FRIEDMAN

13:54:17
I'm Emily Friedman.

SHEIR

13:54:18
You can learn more about Project Dispatch and see of images of Brian and Jorge's birds on our website, metroconnection.org.
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