Adapted from an A.P.E. Ltd. Gallery press release.
On the surface this exhibition suggests a carnival, and on a deeper level it addresses the anxiety that is a consequence of the state of our local, national and global economies.
A Prize Every Time is a collaborative project by Sally Curcio, Amy Johnquest, and Anne LaPrade Seuthe, that addresses chance, luck, wealth, well-being and our emotional relationship with money.
In their exhibition statement the artists write: "We trust advisors to invest wisely for us in the stock market, yet we know the stock market is a gamble. Like any game, there are rules to play by - no insider trading and don't be a Bernard Madoff. Gambling and games infiltrate our culture at many levels. Attitudes about wealth vary wildly, but are often based on how it is acquired. The stock market, until very recently, had the air of legitimacy, while the lottery is widely viewed as seedy and the earnings from it are consequently viewed through a darker lens. State lottery funds, despite their questionable origins do benefit local communities."
Northampton alone received close to four million dollars that helped to fund the local arts council - bringing us full circle. *
A Prize Every Time includes works that directly reference carnival and lottery games of chance. A collaborative piece called "Scratch Ticket to Paradise" comprised of unscratched lottery tickets purchased by members of the community will be featured in the gallery window facing Main St. To create this piece the artists sold "shares" which entitle "shareholders" to a portion of the winnings - if any.
(For more information and to purchase shares visit the artists' blog at aprizeeverytime.wordpress.com) Another collaborative piece involves a wall of 36 painted panels - each covered by a balloon- that will reveal a message as the balloons are popped on opening night. There will also be paintings that reference imagery related to the stock market and lottery; carnivalesque banners with double entendre text; and kinetic wheels of fortune. In Johnquest's Birth Wheel, viewers will spin a wheel to see who they get to be via nationality - income - religion - politics - lifestyle. We see how random our chances are. Spin the wheel and you may wind up being born a Somalian living in a simple shack with no plumbing or electricity in the middle of a genocidal war, spin again and you're a white child born to a Texas oil family, spin again and you're a Chinese factory worker making I-pad screens, spin again and you 're a middle class hipster family in Northampton, and so on ....
A Prize Every Time's carnival atmosphere will hover between a compelling tension and an exuberant fun-fest similar to what one might experience at a county fair where the innocence in the cotton candy, rides and games live side by side with the underbelly of transience and con-artistry. A Prize Every Time! speaks to the reality of the American Dream: high-hopes dashed by harsh realiy ... but don't despair in A Prize Every Time! everyone's a winner!
This program is supported in part by a grant from the Northampton Arts Council, a local agency which is supported by the Massachusetts Cultural Council.