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AREA CODE: More than just a Drive-In Experience

by Joey Phoenix

On Friday, August 14th AREA CODE – in collaboration with Salem State University Center for the Arts, Creative Collective, and Retonica – produced a sold out Video/Digital Art Drive-In at the O’Keefe Center in Salem. The evening was a pop-up movie and theater experience featuring contemporary digital, video, and light art created by regional artists. 

But for those who missed it, there is so much yet to see and experience in AREA CODE’s first edition. The first art fair exclusively featuring contemporary artists with ties to New England, AREA CODE is a month-long (one week left!) hybrid online/popup art fair in greater Boston. 

AREA CODE: Video/Digital Art Drive-In at Salem State’s O’Keefe Center

“These pop up events can provide hope and community even with social distancing,” said Leonie Bradbury, Distinguished Curator-in-Residence at Emerson College and the Juror for the pop up event in Salem. “There’s such a need in our community for artists and community members to gather together, and this art fair really strives to meet that need.” 

There are three primary social distance friendly components to AREA CODE’s first iteration: the pop up drive-in event, storefront art installations, and special projects, which, according to the site, “introduces experimental, innovative forms of engagement with art and responds critically and urgently to the current political, medical, and racial climate.”

This week art fair virtual attendees can view the works of AREA CODE’s featured artists and buy their work online. There will also be a final AREA CODE conversation on August 27th with Dell Marie Hamilton, Jami Powell, and Rachel Moore, discussing the complex entanglements in New England’s past, present, and future and examining what’s at stake in and for the arts right now.

There will also be three more performances this coming weekend including Earthlings by Erin Genia and Untitled by Bryana Siobhan González broadcast via YouTube Live.  

Because AREA CODE is dedicated to supporting artists who have ties to New England, this commitment to featuring the work of local artists has given local creators a chance to have their work be seen by the people in their communities. 

“We have these incredible museums and world class institutions in the Boston area that don’t often display works by artists of the region. So I feel like there is room to do that in a way that’s inclusive and encouraging,” said Bradbury, “So with AREA CODE, we really wanted to focus and create an opportunity for artists that have not yet had that full opportunity for exposure.” 

Special Project #16 Allison Maria Rodriguez
Installation image taken by James Manning
Courtesy of AREA CODE

You can support the work of local artists too by hopping on a bike (or getting in a car) and touring AREA CODE’S twenty storefront installations or, if you don’t have time to get out, you can stay in and check out AREA CODE’s virtual creative offerings by watching performances or buying original works of art from the artists this week while you still can.

Find out more at www.areacodeartfair.com


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