Public Space One (PS1), located in the lower level of the Wesley Center at 120 N. Dubuque St., will be hosting its annual Cheap Art Bazaar from 1-4 p.m. this Saturday. The event will include original lithographs, silkscreens and drawings as well as mix-tapes and other unique works by local artists.
Up to 20 local artists will display and sell their work to the public. According to PS1 Director John Engelbrecht, artists are asked to give 20 percent of the money they raise from art sales back to PS1 to help cover the day-to-day operating expenses of the space.
Promotional materials for the event closely mimic the design of advertisements that have run in Little Village for the downtown gallery, Steven Vail Fine Arts. Similarly, this spring’s “Mission Tweak” email and flyer campaign mirrored the Mission Creek concert posters hanging throughout Iowa City during the festival. Asked what is meant by the imitations, Engelbrecht — who says he’s the man responsible for the marketing campaigns — said it was all meant in good fun.
“When I first started at PS1, I made a mock Arts Iowa City logo that was a hand-drawn logo kind of like the PS1 one, only it said Arts Iowa City. It’s a poke, but it’s like a ‘roast’ poke. It’s not meant to be an attack on them at all.”
Engelbrecht refers to PS1 as a “small-a art” organization, and describes their efforts as counter-programming, programming that pushes back on more established arts venues and events within the community.
“There have been some of these parody things that we decided not to do because we might be perceived as attacking something that was maybe a little too vulnerable. … I’d been thinking about Mission Creek, and it’s gotten to this point where it’s such a well-liked thing, we thought that counter-programming would be kind of funny in a certain way. [Mission Creek] has reached a level where I don’t think counter-programming can do anything negative for it, and it just becomes another positive. I don’t know. That’s our argument for it at least. And no ill-intent by any means, because Iowa City is far better off for having things like Mission Creek and Steven Vail and FilmScene and all these things.”
As for the Cheap Art Bazaar itself, there are still a few spots available for artists looking to participate. They’ll be filled on a first-come first-served basis, so if you’re interested send an email to PS1 at email@example.com, or give them a call at (319) 331-8893.