Amidst Divisive Politics, Labovitz’s 122 Conversations Unites Countries, Cultures, and Communities

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Six-Year, International Arts Project Culminates in Duluth

122 Conversations | Person to Person: Art Beyond Borders

Anne Labovitz's "122 Conversations | Person to Person: Art Beyond Borders," Tweed Museum, Duluth, Minn., through Jan. 6, 2019.

122 Conversations … is metaphorically a global, visual chorus celebrating our differences and a place for people to participate, joining the chorus.

122 Conversations | Person to Person: Art Beyond Borders, on exhibit now through Jan. 6, 2019 at the Tweed Museum of Art, is the culmination of a six-year effort by artist, Anne Labovitz to meaningfully connect the people from six diverse countries, cultures and communities. The artist envisioned the multi-city, multi-year arts program as a catalyst for positive social change one person at a time.

The show explores cross-cultural connections through interviews, paintings, and participatory artmaking as a creative catalyst for breaking barriers. The impressions and words of the many face-to-face and Skype conversations with participants from six different cities around the globe were inscribed layer over layer and became embedded as the foundation and narrative content of the artworks throughout the show. Yet, while there is a collective narrative in all of the works, each city’s creative elements display their unique character.

“The 122 Conversations project is metaphorically a global, visual chorus celebrating our differences and a place for people to participate, joining the chorus,” explains Labovitz. “The experience of finding ways to relate to another and sharing that experience with a stranger reveals a fundamental element of human nature – interdependence can bridge distances.”

122 Conversations | Person to Person: Art Beyond Borders includes more than 100 objects, including paintings, sculpture, video documentation and participatory elements. The dominant element of the show is the artist’s vivid painted scrolls. Lush with color and intense brushstrokes, the 6- to 40-foot scrolls suspend from the gallery ceiling and puddle on the gallery’s floors. The fluid acrylic scrolls visually meld 60 artist-led interviews involving ten residents from each of Duluth’s five Sister Cities (DSCI) around the globe.

Equally important and integral to the project are the participatory elements that give people an opportunity to actively interact with the exhibit – giving them a voice to connect cross-culturally through their artistic contributions. One such activity invited children and adults in each city to share their own drawings, stories or words on small painted paper tiles created by the artist. These collected messages from the various countries are displayed in mass within the exhibition.

"122 Conversations | Person to Person: Art Beyond Borders is an artist-led project that celebrates humanity and the radical and political act of caring," observes Omayra Alvarado, Executive Director, Instituto de Visión, Bogotá, Colombia. "In a world where we are inundated with differences, oftentimes, in our haste, we focus on how these differences divide us. Through mutual respect, understanding, and cooperation, the artist aims to create a heartfelt connection."

The exhibition is the final stop in a six-venue, worldwide tour, which was organized through Duluth’s International Sister Cities network. The tour included exhibits in Canada, Sweden, Russia, Iraqi Kurdistan, and Japan, culminating in a final exhibition at Tweed Museum of Art, Duluth, Minn.

122 Conversations | Person to Person: Art Beyond Borders, Tweed Museum of Art, (1201 Ordean Court, Duluth, Minn.) runs through Jan. 6, 2019. The Opening Reception is Oct. 25, 6-8:30 p.m. and is free and open to the public.

For more information, visit 122Conversations.com.

About the Artist:

A native of Duluth, Anne Labovitz currently lives and works in St. Paul, Minn. In 2013, she was recognized with Duluth Depot Foundation’s Artist Award as an artist whose distinguished career has made significant contributions to the development of both artists and the arts. In 2015, Labovitz was awarded the key to all six sister cities by Duluth Sister Cities, Intl. for her work in 122 Conversations. Her paintings are part of the permanent collections at the Tweed Museum of Art in Duluth, Minn., the Athenaeum Music & Arts Library in La Jolla, Calif., the Minnesota Museum of American Art, the Weisman Art Museum, and the International Gallery of Portrait in Tuzla, Bosnia-Herzegovina.

Labovitz is a member of the Board of Trustees for the Walker Art Center in Minneapolis, an Advisory Board member of The Artist Book Foundation in New York City, and a former member of the Colleagues Advisory Board at the Weisman Art Museum on the campus of the University of Minnesota-Twin Cities. In August 2017, Labovitz received her Master of Fine Arts degree from Transart Institute, an innovative program based in Berlin and New York. She received her degree in art and art education from Hamline University, St. Paul, Minn. In addition, she has trained in studios in Italy, New Mexico, New York, Massachusetts, and North Carolina.

Labovitz is a professional artist and teaches arts education and conducts artist workshops in both public and private schools, and throughout the Minneapolis/St. Paul community. She also is active in the Duluth, Minn., art community and metro area.

For details about upcoming workshops on 122 Conversations: Person to Person, Art Beyond Borders please visit: 122Conversations.com.

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Jacqueline Hanson
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