Strangers Collective started in the fall of 2014 as a gathering of a few millennial friends who were interested in sharing their artworks with other friends through secret shows in private residences.
Later, through word of mouth, “strangers” (friends of friends) also were invited to show their work. As organized group shows began taking place at various venues around town, the number of participating artists grew from the three founders-Erikka James, Jordan Eddy and Kyle Farrell-to more than 40 local painters, filmmakers, photographers, sculptors and writers.
When James moved back to New York, Alex Gill became the collective’s third co-director.
Strangers Collective’s most recent show, “Long Echo,” takes place at the Center for Contemporary Arts (CCA) and features paintings, sculptures, drawings and zines (self-published magazines) created by 12 visual artists and 12 writers.
“For our previous shows, we set loose themes, and the artists created work around the themes,” explains Eddy. “For this exhibit, we interviewed all the artists during studio visits. A theme evolved around what people were doing. That’s how we put the show together.”
Eddy’s contribution is a zine called “The Consolidation of Objects” which chronicles the show’s birth and development. Farrell’s piece, “Untitled,” is a worn cotton fabric sculpture. Gill created “System2” out of string on screen wire. Also on display are the zine “The Artist & The Writer” by Kelly Skeen, three digital video pieces by Marcus Zuniga and paintings by Dion Valdez.
The show’s artists get together at CCA on January 4 to talk about their work and the challenges of living an artistic life in Santa Fe, with Eddy moderating the 90-minute panel discussion open to the pubic. “The gallery scene can be intimidating,” says Eddy. “We want to help empower artists in town by offering ways to forge ahead.”
Eddy, Farrell and Gill hope that folks who attend the panel discussion, and those who aren’t able to attend, will come to CCA on January 11 for a roundtable discussion that’s a follow-up to the topics covered in the panel discussion. All attendees will have an opportunity to participate in the conversation.
While the three co-directors of Strangers Collective have enjoyed curating large group shows, they’re also exploring alternative ways -such as curating two-person exhibits and solo shows-of presenting artworks to the public. “Strangers Collective has been such an amazing learning experience for us,” shares Farrell. “One of the great things about it is that it’s been an incentive for young artists to stick around town.”