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Two opportunities for young artists

Why does Boston produce such an immense number of young artists and yet retain so few of them?

This is the question that begins the call for work for yBos 1 at UMB's Harbor Gallery, which calls itself "The first young Boston Artists juried exhibition at UMass Boston." It gets right to the heart of a problem that Boston has long struggled with: how to create opportunities and room for young artists to grow and start careers. With so many world-class institutions producing new graduating classes of inspired artists every year, how does a city like Boston absorb them and support them?

At Big Red & Shiny we've written extensively in the past about the loss of community and opportunities that accompanied the closure of many alternative spaces. This has affected young and emerging artists the most, as non-profit spaces offered them the visibility and community they need to start a career. Without active "incubator" spaces, a city like Boston offers few paths from the classroom to the white cube.

This month, there are two calls for work that are attempting to re-think this problem. The first, already mentioned, is the call for work at UMass Boston.1 The other is an peer-juried online exhibition from Young New England Photographers.

Young New England Photographers is a new initiative by four recent graduates of the Art Institute of Boston, who want "to curate and share exemplary photographic work by recent graduates to facilitate a dialogue and create a community within and outside of the demographic of the student population."

Young New England Photographers is an internet-era attempt to bring more visibility to young artists, and is already attracting some high-profile young photographers. Their Tumblr features work by Shane Lavalette, for example, a young artist who has done some pioneering work in creating visibility at Lay Flat.

Both of these calls for work place similar restrictions on submissions. yBos 1 limits submissions to "current undergraduates and anyone up to two years out of their undergraduate program from schools in the Boston metro area [who]are eighteen years of age or older. Entrants do not have to be art students in order to be eligible." Young New England Photographers is seeking artists who have recently graduated with "an undergraduate or graduate degree within the past four years from an educational institution in Connecticut, Maine, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, Rhode Island or Vermont."

If you are a young artist reading this, get your submissions together! The rest of us will be watching closely to see what great work is to be found in these new young artist showcases.

The call for work for yBos 1 at UMass Boston is online here.
Information and submission guidelines for Young New England Photographers can be found here.

[1] - Full disclosure: Big Red & Shiny's own Brian Christopher Glaser will be one of the jurors for the UMass yBos 1 exhibition.

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