By Vince Bellino
You don’t have to be a millionaire to enjoy art. It’s for everyone. Art for the Cash Poor was conceived with that idea in mind, knowing that financial barriers often keep people from even considering buying art.
Started 19 years ago by InLiquid, a Philly-based nonprofit that works to create opportunities for visual artists, Art for the Cash Poor began with 25 artists selling works under $50. Since then, the number of competing arts festivals in the Philadelphia area has multiplied—that’s a good thing—and the springtime event has expanded, eventually finding a home at its longtime space at the Crane Arts building.
For 2018, however, Art for the Cash Poor will occur in and around the area at 10th and Buttonwood streets.
This move to the Callowhill neighborhood of the city calls for different arrangements than at Crane Arts, namely the shift from a two-day indoor event to a single-day outdoor attraction. Construction in Crane Arts’ Kensington neighborhood is responsible for the move, but Executive Director Rachel Zimmerman says InLiquid is thrilled to take Art for the Cash Poor to a new location.
“We’re excited about bridging out for this year and creating new partnerships and new opportunities,” Zimmerman says. “I think it’s great for the artists because I think being more centrally located will attract a lot more people.”
Like years prior, all of the works for sale at Art for the Cash Poor are modestly priced, maxing out this year at $199, and there are many pieces much lower than that.
“If you don’t get exposure to people who are doing good work, they’re never going to get to a higher level,” Zimmerman explains. “People ask me all the time about, ‘Who should I buy artwork [from]?’ You should buy what you like, and then you develop your taste, then you never know who’s going to become important, but you’ve got to support people that you respect and the work that you like. That’s the only way it gets started.”
Zimmerman expressed her hope that the move to a new location for 2018 will give InLiquid the opportunity to invite other arts organizations and local businesses to have a presence at the event, though at the time of writing, exact programming and participants are still being decided. One idea being considered is to install pop-up exhibits in the block’s multiple empty storefronts; another is to invite craft distilleries to set up inside an unused Pennsylvania Horticultural Society pop-up garden. Respecting the community that is already in the neighborhood, Zimmerman says, is critical to InLiquid.
“We want to embrace all that competition and use this as a way of saying, ‘Look at all the stuff that’s happening in Philadelphia,’” Zimmerman explains. “‘Look at all these different festivals. Look at all these different people who are making stuff and doing work,’ and let’s get people to be really engaged in the arts community and support it and buy work, because if you want the arts to be around, you’ve got to support it.”
In addition to Saturday’s festivities, a kickoff party will be held at the former Bike Factory at 448 N. 10th St. As in the past, the kickoff party is a ticketed event, and InLiquid splits the profits of the night with AIDS Fund Philly. A yet-to-be-announced art installation will be the centerpiece of the party.
The 2018 edition of Art for the Cash Poor gives attendees the chance to experience the festival in a one-time location. Zimmerman says InLiquid plans to bring Art for the Cash Poor back to the Crane Arts building in 2019 with even more ideas in tow. That’s next year, though. For now, InLiquid is focused on turning Art for the Cash Poor into an engaging outdoor arts festival.