1708 offers a full schedule of exhibitions that are free and open to the public. Each exhibition season presents a diverse range of ideas, practices, and media from painting to site-specific installations. 1708’s exhibitions and programs reflect the most current ideas in contemporary art, and in turn, question and push the boundaries that define contemporary culture, from social to political ideas. The exhibitions also create an arena in which 1708’s audiences can engage, be challenged and be inspired. 1708 believes that the purpose of new art is to offer a path for navigating the world, to provide another avenue for perception, and to teach us how to see.
InLight Richmond, 1708’s annual, one-night exhibition of light-based art, takes contemporary art into the public sphere. Each year, InLight moves to a different site in Richmond. A call for entries is issued, inviting artists to submit proposals for light-based projects that respond to the site. A juror reviews the submissions and selects the best projects. Integral components of InLight include the lantern workshops and the Community Lantern Parade. In the months before InLight, 1708 organizes workshops at organizations and events like the Children’s Museum of Richmond, the Visual Arts Center, SCAN, First Fridays, Second Street Festival, and area schools. Participants in all of the workshops are invited to walk in the Community Lantern Parade that kicks off InLight. In 2010, approximately 6500-7000 visitors participated in the lantern parade and / or experienced the 36 installations that filled alleyways, storefronts, sidewalks, and vacant spaces in historic Shockoe Slip.
Inspired by a similar event in San Francisco, the Monster Drawing Rally invites regional artists to participate in this energetic event. Artists are assigned one of four hour-long shifts. For each shift, the assigned group of artists had an hour to complete a drawing (or several drawings). The finished works were immediately hung on the gallery walls for display. The event is open to the public who may come and watch the artists at work. Finished drawings are available at a flat price, thus leveling the playing field for both emerging and established artists.
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