Wall Street to Main Street





Wall Street to Main Street is a collaborative art project linking Occupy Wall Street and the rest of America, via the classic small town of Catskill, NY.  Just as the Occupy Wall Street Movement has sought to focus attention on the wide needs of the 99 percent, Wall Street to Main Street illustrates the ways in which re-use of vacant storefronts can revitalize a local economy, and reconnect a battered community’s dreams and aspirations.
Focusing on art as a vocabulary of ideas, exhibitions sites are planned for 8-15 vacant storefronts along the town's Main Street, as well as nearby cultural and educational venues. Catskill is central to the historic home of our nation’s first environmental vision, several pioneering new agricultural projects, and one of the nation’s most heralded new community radio stations. The proposed project, co-organized by the OWS Arts and Culture Working Group, Fawn Potash (Project Director, Masters on Main Street) and Geno Rodriquez (former Director of The Alternative Museum), will include panel discussions, projections, radio programming, performances, and installations of the art of OWS. Nearby Bard College, Vassar College, SUNY New Paltz and Albany will be invited to organize panel discussions combining political science, economics and art experts. Tentatively scheduled for March, April and May of 2012, the project will culminate in a summer celebration in the historically influential Hudson Valley, home to both America’s first great entrepreneurial efforts and the Woodstock Festivals, with details TBA.

The project goals of Wall Street to Main Street are:

  • To explore art as a vocabulary for understanding the economic issues at the heart of the Occupy Movement with visual, intellectual and dynamic opportunities for education, dialogue-building, and a showcase of wildly creative artistic expressions pioneering every medium;
  • To show the significant role of artists in this and past movements as the vanguard of social and political change, as well as the role communities play in nurturing and legitimizing such vision;
  • To model a peaceful partnership between cultural organizations, educational institutions, protestors, artists and the citizens who make up our home communities;  
  • To explore ideas expressed in the art works calling attention to real-world economic problems, fundamental democratic processes, and an urgent need for systematic reform.  

The unforgettable photographs, videos, signs, puppets, interventions, posters and graphics of the OWS phenomenon will be augmented for this first Wall Street to Main Street event through invitations to local artists, students and recent alumni from studio art programs that have participated in Catskill’s groundbreaking Masters on Main Street program over the past year. The organization of Wall Street to Main Street will be collaborative, fostering creative exchange between OWS artists, the local community and the 99% everywhere.
Wall Street to Main Street represents an opportunity for Catskill to be at the forefront of an international art movement, with attendant opportunities for the entire community; just as the town once benefited as the starting point for our nation’s pioneering growth westward, as the center for its first internationally-recognized art movement, and as the home to some of its leading inventors and thinkers.