Monday February 16, 2015

GHETTO: A Retail Art Installation

ArtStreet is launching the world premiere of “GHETTO: A Retail Art Installation” in the White Box Gallery beginning on Feb. 24 and running through Mar. 31.

The installation came as part of ArtStreet’s new mission and vision, which focuses on radically creative arts experiences. This new format of programming has offered many new opportunities for deeper exploration of the topics raised in each exhibition, as well as new opportunities for students to engage in the actual creation process. The installations now become gateways to new topics and conversations using art as the catalyst. They look to open the eyes and ears of participants to unique and gripping conversations and create relatable experiences for all involved.

GHETTO: A Retail Art Installation allows students to interact with the exhibition in a more unique way. The exhibition includes different articles of luxury brand GHETTO merchandise mingled with imagery, artifacts and other elements that reference historically impacted ghettos throughout the world. In addition to the imagery used throughout the installation, fencing and other forms of barricades will be used to create a sense of separation in order to add to the experience.

In keeping with the new ArtStreet mission and vision, the exhibition is the catalyst for discussion around the word “ghetto.” The word has a long historical significance, and it still has a powerful effect on people’s perceptions.

“Our goal is to always have different conversations flowing [about the exhibition],” said ArtStreet Director Brian LaDuca.

Initial discussions began in the spring of 2014 with campus and community partners about how to best execute an installation and tackle such a weighted topic. In addition, conversations were raised about how the use of the word has impacted college campuses across North America, including the University of Dayton.

“[The question became,] ‘How might we explore the dichotomy of ‘ghetto’ as ‘home’ for some, while many see it as a negative term to rise up from?’” said ArtStreet Associate Director Adrienne Ausdenmoore.

“When Rodney Veal, one of our artistic partners in those conversations, pitched the idea of using a retail concept to approach the topic through a commercial lens, everything started to fall into place.” said Ausdenmoore.

“By using the retail store as a gateway to unpacking the layers of meaning of GHETTO, it allows us as a creative team to dive into some pretty interesting and dark juxtapositions: the frivolity of luxury fashion and the dark under belly of the word ‘ghetto’. It will definitely be a conversation starter,” said Rodney Veal, GHETTO fashion designer and cultural instigator.

The directors, designers, artists and collaborators set two goals for the GHETTO exhibition.

  1. Take the commercialized aspects of the use of the word “ghetto” and turn it into a socio/political/economic commentary, which is not intended to create specific direction to end the word, but rather to create conversation, awareness and understanding around the word.
  2. Provide appropriate forums to unpack and process the meaning behind GHETTO. That need for opportunities led to creative and consultation teams that include UD students, staff and other partners to drive the creative implementation, as well as provide care and attention to the impact of the world historically, globally, nationally and locally.

“At its most basic level, GHETTO is a history lesson. While the merchandise featured is not actually for sale, the messaging is in the product and every element in the gallery space.” said Ausdenmoore.

“Each time the word ‘ghetto’ is used commercially, it loses poignancy and historical weight. The installation looks to put power back into the word by re-appropriating the cultural appropriation that has occurred over time.” LaDuca said.

ArtStreet is located at the intersection of Lawnview Avenue and Kiefaber Street on the University of Dayton campus. ArtStreet is open 8 a.m. to midnight Monday through Friday and noon to midnight Saturday and Sunday. For more information about ArtStreet events, call 937-229-5101 or visit udayton.edu/artstreet.

Detailed Schedule/Public Events:

GHETTO: A Retail Art Installation
Feb. 24 through Mar. 31
ArtStreet White Box Gallery
A world premiere installation retail experience that tackles the historically weighted word "ghetto" through a subverted commercial lens with the goal to take the commercialized aspects and use of the word and turn it into socio/political/economic commentary.

Opening Launch
ArtStreet White Box Gallery
5:30-6:30 p.m. Thursday, Feb. 24

Focus Group
ArtStreet Studio C
6:30-8:00 p.m. Tuesday, Feb. 24

Peer Conversations
Open to UD students, March 11-13
Learn more >>

ArtStreet Intersection: GHETTO Focus Group Revisited
ArtStreet Studio C
7:30-9:00 p.m. Wednesday, Mar. 25
Led by Amy Lopez-Matthews and Christina Smith (Student Development).

Exchange: Where is Your Heart?
Roesch Library second floor
6:30 - 8 p.m. Monday March 30
A salon-style debate about spirituality, creativity and the impact of consecrated life in the new urban community. Presented by ArtStreet and University Libraries in conjunction with ArtStreet's GHETTO: A Retail Art Installation and Charism, Character and Calling: Celebrating the Year of Consecrated Life.

Closing Event with Rodney Veal
ArtStreet White Box Gallery
6:30 - 8 p.m. Tuesday, March 31

 Press release written by Maggie Fiegl '15. 

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