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The Washington Square Outdoor Art Exhibit

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by Dora Bona (subscribe)
A freelance writer, and amateur photographer Dora also teaches creative writing classes. Check out her website at
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Twice a year, a cosmopolitan mix of art lovers, tourists, interior designers and all manner of artists converge on Washington Square in the heart of Greenwich Village, for the popular Washington Square Outdoor Art Exhibit.

The first of the two events is the Memorial Day Weekend and the weekend that follows.

First, a little history. The exhibit has been a New York event for 80 years. In 1931, in the heart of the depression era, abstract impressionist painter Jackson Pollock, was down and out. Behind on his rent on his Greenwich Village home & studio, he decided to trundle down to Washington Square Park with his less than traditional paintings and set them up on the sidewalk. His friend and fellow Village artist, Willem DeKooning, in equally desparate financial straits, soon joined him.

Before long, luminaries of the art world as Gertrude Vanderbilt Whitney, founder of the Whitney Museum of Art, and Alfred H. Barr, Jr., Director of the Museum of Modern Art had ear marked the event, and were responsible for making it an important occasion on the New York Arts calendar..

These days, the exhibitors are selected by a jury of fellow artists. A previous ban on nudes has been removed, and the show is now open to photography as an art form, as well as the addition of craftworks, provided each piece is one-of-a-kind and hand-made.

The event is a great showcase for upcoming artist, sculptors, photographers and those with boundless creative talent. If you're an artist and wish to exhibit, WSOAE welcomes both veteran and up-and-coming artists and craft artisans. The show awards thousands of dollars in prizes for various fine arts and fine crafts, in a number of categories. Exhibitors info will explain the costs involved.

Here are some of the winners of the Fall 2010 exhibit. Some really astounding work!

The show takes place on the sidewalks of University Place from East 10th Street, south along the side of Washington Square Park, to Third Street.

Whether you are an art fan, or an artiste, it's a great weekend in a lovely part of New York.

Spring 2011 Exhibit
Memorial Day Weekend
May 28, 29, 30 and
June 4 and 5

Fall 2011 Exhibit
Labor Day Weekend
September 3, 4, 5 and 10, 11
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Why? You might just discover the next Jackson Pollock
When: Memorial Day weekend
Where: Washington Square from East 10th St. to 3rd St.
Cost: free to look
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