A new kid has arrived on the ever popular FAT Village Block.
ArtsUp, founded and directed by educator and artists’ advocate Neil Ramsay, is a non-profit entity spanning an impressive 5,000-square-foot warehouse space. For villagers in the know, it is located between co-working space General Provision and C&I Studios.
What’s unique about ArtsUp is its conceptual layout. Instead of mounting artworks on the walls, in the traditional gallery sense, the venue specializes in site-specific aerial installations, meaning the curated works are installed to the ceiling. Imagine a room of people looking up. Oh, yeah.
The concept is a nod to what architecture nerds would call ‘look up,’ a perspective that calls attention to what is seen above – as architects would do to image the scale of a building or how passersby would.
Ramsay, a professor of visual arts marketing at Florida International University, College of Architecture and Art, among numerous pursuits in the arts, opened ArtsUp to the public in January 2016.
Interdisciplinary artist Vanessa Diaz created the venue’s inaugural exhibition “The Possibility of an Exit,” which impressively spans the ceiling support system, a mere 5,000-square-foot space. The architectural installation was accompanied by video of a subject climbing up stairs, relentlessly and frantically looking for an exit.
The awe-inspiring and intricate installation is comprised of reclaimed dwelling pieces and discarded materials such as white picket fences, lighting fixtures, window blinds, ropes, hoops, and metal barrels. Diaz takes viewers on an obstacle course, on their own quest, suspended in air. Turn right. Turn left. Swing through a hoop. Slink through a barrel….
A playful chaos erupts. Will I ever find an exit?
Funded by private donations and grant awards, ArtsUp will select up to five artists to exhibit at the FATVillage location in its first year.