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News Bites: Art Education Alum’s Plan to Creatively Engage Chicago Commuters Awarded $10,000 Grant

Posted June 16, 2015 in AlumniNews BitesArt EducationPhotography

These days, smartphones and spare time just seem to go hand-in-hand, but one KCAD alum is working to give commuters on Chicago’s L train a deeper kind of hand-held engagement.

Joseph Wilcox (’09, Art Education) and his wife Danielle were recently awarded a $10,000 grant from non-profit organization Crusade for Art for their proposal of .LDOC, a free print publication combining photography and creative writing that the couple hopes will help L train passengers transcend the daily grind through accessible and memorable experiences with art.

.LDCO coverThe cover of the first issue of .LDOC, which will be released this October (image courtesy of Joseph Wilcox)

The Crusade Engagement Grant is designed to support innovative ideas like .LDOC that can further Crusade for Art’s mission to engage new audiences with art, specifically fine art photography. The Wilcoxs’ proposal beat out hundreds of initial applicants and nine other eventual finalists in an extensive juried process.

Juror Brian Sholis, associate curator of photography at Cincinnati Museum of Art, noted that “.LDOC was the proposal that best balanced effective cost management and distribution with artistic quality. It imagined a captive, repeat audience for the publication and has the potential for long-term sustainability. It is an ambitious but exciting project.”

Beginning this October, each issue of .LDOC will be released in two installments that feature a different writer/photographer pair, and the publication’s power lies in the intersection of the artists’ work. The photo essays will be printed alongside pieces of creative writing, inviting readers to create their own association’s between the two mediums.

.LDOC sample publication(above and below) Inside the first issue of .LDOC (image courtesy of Joseph Wilcox)

.LDOC mock-up(image courtesy of Joseph Wilcox)

“We’re going to be looking for artists and writers that can jive off of each other,” said Joseph. “The conversation that can happen between the two mediums is what really drove this idea.”

.LDOC aims to frame those conversations in a very personal way. In addition to the human dialogues that will emerge from the photography and writing, additional narratives will emerge from the convergence of the two mediums. Also, participating photographers and writers are being asked to help distribute the publication by hand, so readers will have a chance to connect with the people whose work they’re about to experience.

“I hate that I’m always on my phone, but that’s just the way so many of us decompress now,” said Danielle. “It feels very disconnected, so we want everything about .LDOC to feel very personal and connective.”

To start, .LDOC will be distributed at five different stops on the L Red Line, which runs through both the north and south sides of Chicago. As the project develops, the plan is to expand to more routes within the L system and eventually to other cities.

.LDOC will also be available via subscription, and back issues will be hosted online at l-doc.org, where original work from the participating artist will be made available for purchase as well.

For more information, visit l-doc.org.