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100 Canvases, 1 Curator | A Few Words With Stuart Hall

A selection of work from 100 Canvases For A Better World, July 6, 2011. (Image Credit: Tempestt Hazel.)

Due to their love for The Silver Room’s Sound System Block Party and as a gesture of gratitude for the blood, sweat and tears that go into it, one hundred artists from across the city and the nation each donated a 12in. x 12in. original piece for the fundraising event. I took a trip to The Silver Room and witnessed the moments of planning and brainstorming for the 100 Canvases For A Better World Exhibition just before the show started to go up. Much like a composer who has the challenge of bringing different instruments together in a way that makes sense, Stuart Hall, the exhibition’s curator, had to take one hundred canvases by one hundred vastly different artists and bring them together in a way that spoke to the space, the theme of ‘A Better World’ and a potential buyer of the work. I bet you didn’t know that another term for curator is problem-solver.  During the installation process, I got the chance to ask Stuart several questions about his involvement in the events and what, in his opinion, is a better world. (Note: The works from 100 Canvases will be on display and available for purchase through August 4, 2011.)

Stuart Hall. (Image Courtesy of the curator.)

Tempestt Hazel: What is your involvement in the Block Party and how did you ultimately end up involved?

Stuart Hall: I was involved with block party for the first time last year. I assisted in facilitating a few things and “worked” security. It really wasn’t much. This year I picked up the curatorial responsibilities at the RGB Lounge, which essentially made us neighbors. I am huge fan of The Silver Room and the block party, thus I offered my services to the cause. As a result I was asked to curate the 100 Canvases for a Better World show.

TH: How many block parties have you been to?

SH: This will be my third block party. My first block party I was pushed around in a wheel chair with a full cast on my leg and a lap full of chalk. I spent the day marking up sidewalks and doing the wheelchair dance. This garnered a bit of attention and it was my first introduction to Eric. I can’t really comment on the evolution of the block party, since I am so new to it. I do, however consider it the best block party of the season. Always good music and good people. Last year they incorporated some projection art on the of the building across the street. That was pretty cool.

TH: What is the concept behind 100 Canvases For A Better World Exhibition and Fundraiser?

SH: 100 Canvases, I believe, is dual purposed. It is primarily to offset the cost of The Silver Room’s Block Party. Eric has pretty much pulled the expenses out of his own pocket and it is a fairly expensive endeavor.  Secondly, it believe it is to engage the community through art, which is always a good thing. I have had a look at a good portion of the art and it promises to be a good show.

TH: So, what does the concept of “A Better World” mean to you?

SH: My concept of a better world is probably pretty typical– social justice, economic equality, racial harmony, etc. But, I believe we are committing ourselves to a better world with this project. It’s a community coming together in support of one of it’s members [and The Silver Room] providing that community with a remarkable experience.

Saturday, July 16th from 12pm – 10pm, check out the 9th Annual Block Party For A Better World at The Silver Room in Wicker Park.  (For More Details Click Here.) The 100 Canvases For A Better World Exhibition will be on display and available for purchase through August 4, 2011. Also, check out Stuart Hall’s regular stomping ground, RGB Lounge, just down the street from The Silver Room, to see more of his exhibitions.

Read the interview with the man behind The Silver Room, Eric Williams: Part 1 + Part 2.

This interview has been edited for clarity and length.