This Saturday, Broome County Arts Council (BCAC) opened their doors to invite members of the community to engage in supporting and learning from local artists. Cut up magazines, gluesticks, the flash of Polaroid cameras, laughter and lively music culminated in a unifying effect throughout BCAC’s first open studio event of the 2023-2024 Artist in Residence program.
BCAC’s new series of open studio events focuses on breaking down the barriers between people and the art they create. These events not only allow local artists to showcase their workspace and process, but also allows the community to recognize value and instill confidence in their artistic representatives.
Sam Muré is the current resident artist, who uses a “by-any-means-necessary” approach to art and expression. Through Muré’s unique combination of printmaking, writing, drawing and analog photography, they communicate a visceral and accessible message to anyone willing to see.
Muré spoke to the intention and passion behind the event, which centered on personal expression, insular support systems and broader outreach to the local community.
“This event focuses on accessibility to art and being a part of creating it,” Muré said. “I think it’s very rare for people to get the opportunity to participate in something where their direct work will be on a wall in a gallery.”
Abigail Cornelia, marketing associate at BCAC, explained the importance of the Artist in Residence program for the community as well as Muré’s specific contribution.
“[Muré’s] work is expressive and extremely dynamic and confessional, and has dozens of themes of identity, community and things that are very local to the Binghamton area,” Cornelia said. “I think Sam’s work is representative of a disillusioned youth that I think a lot of Binghamton residents can identify with, and I hope that this exhibition brings people into the fine arts spaces in Binghamton, and that people who are not really aligned with art will be able to see this work and resonate with it.”
Throughout the event, cutting scissors and intentional hands filled the collage wall with the spontaneous expression of each attendee. Muré encouraged attendees throughout the event and spoke on the importance of listening to impulse and avoiding self-censorship.
“There is no motive,” Muré said. “There is no selling point. I’m just shouting into the void and like hoping someone hears, notices or processes what I’m saying. A lot of the text that I use is thought-provoking, but also stream of consciousness and up to interpretation.”
There is a conflict that exists between the fine art and the DIY scene because of the differences in their prerogatives and aesthetic flavor. Muré is hyperaware of this and expressed how the two should learn to coexist.
“I think that’s been happening more lately, being able to bridge the gap between the DIY scene and the finer art scene and Binghamton,” Muré said. “I honestly think it should dissolve — just be together in one place. But, I do think that there’s something a lot more raw, and real and passionate about the DIY scene because there is not much of a motive other than accessibility.”
Santiago Ortiz, a resident of West Side Binghamton, spoke to his perspective on the arts community, specifically to the DIY scene.
“The art that people make here [is] very specific, and it paints this whole different picture of Binghamton in your head,” Ortiz said. “It’s very nitty-gritty and authentic.”
Muré also touched on their goals to engage the community through their artistic pursuits.
“I think this is my small way of trying to make that happen for people in this community,” Muré said. “I have gained a lot from the community of Binghamton, and I want to be able to pay homage to that — to show something that is a representation of not only my narrative, but the community’s as well.”
Muré’s expression, as well as many others in the future, is supported by BCAC’s aforementioned Artist in Residence program, which allows artists to build confidence in community and focus on their craft.
Cornelia’s passion and investment in the Artists in Residence program and Muré’s work came through in her final statement, encouraging community members to be involved.
“The intention for the BCAC’s Artist In Residence program is to transform the landscape of possibilities for local artists,” Cornelia said. “We have a lot of applicants that mention limited space. They just don’t have enough room in their houses to be able to create to the degree that they would want to.”
Muré’s opening reception for the exhibition “All It Is and All It Ever Was” will be on display Friday, Oct. 6, from 6 p.m. to 9 p.m., and Saturday, Oct. 7 from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. at 223 State St.