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Curate NYC: New York artists, worldwide stage

Demetria Irwin | 11/21/2013, 4:07 p.m.

Curate NYC, a dynamic multimedia artist showcase, began as the winning idea to a request for proposals from the city that had the modest goal of exhibiting art in city-owned buildings. But even at that time, artist and philanthropist Danny Simmons and marketing professional Brian Tate had bigger ideas.

“Instead of just putting art in buildings, we created a moveable wall that was filled with postcards featuring the work of 150 artists. We put the wall in front of buildings and in various public spaces, and some of the actual artwork was featured in Danny’s gallery in Chelsea, Rush Arts,” said Tate.

Now in its third year, Curate NYC has blossomed into an international project with 2,000 submissions, exhibitions in gallery spaces in all five boroughs and online, and an impressive panel of judges composed of art curators from around the globe.

“Part of the evolution of Curate NYC comes from listening to the participants. The artists wanted more opportunities to show their work beyond just the postcards,” said Simmons, who is heading up a three-gallery show called “I Kan Do Dat,” which features 100 artists, some of whom were plucked from the Curate NYC pool.

But Curate NYC doesn’t just benefit the artists. “Art brings people together. If you go to an art show, you can’t help but be moved by it, and local businesses benefit too from the foot traffic. I live in Brooklyn and I see how the restaurants and stores fill up when BAM has an event,” said Simmons, author of the upcoming art and poetry book “The Brown Beatnik Tomes.”

“And it’s about more than just access,” added Tate. “It’s about making people feel welcomed. That’s part of what drives us to do this work in general, and that’s why we seek diversity in locations, art and artists. There’s something for everybody.” Simmons and Tate have collaborated on a number of projects over the years and are co-founders of Full Spectrum Experience, an arts-focused nonprofit.

Though Curate NYC has an international reach via the online exhibitions and some of the judges’ home countries, the project is strictly for New York-based artists. “We have curators from Montreal to Moscow and Baltimore to Berlin, but this is exclusively for New York artists. Curate NYC is our effort to help New York’s arts economy ecosystem flourish,” explained Tate, who noted that there might come a day when they take the Curate brand to other cities.

Visit the official Curate NYC website at www.curatenyc.org for the days, locations and web addresses of current exhibitions. Also visit www.restorationplaza.org for details about Simmons’ current art exhibition, “Noisy in the Next Room,” now on display at Restoration Plaza in Brooklyn until Jan. 3, 2014.