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Courtesy of Ayqa Khan

The artists who have your back when the art world doesn’t

Combatting the sterile art industry, these female curators are throwing an in-gallery sleepover club to prove kindness is key

Art fairs and music festivals can arguably seem like sterile occasions. Elitist and expensive, emerging artists can often feel shut out or overwhelmed by the vast schedules, or if they do make the bill often find themselves scrambling for a place to stay while Airbnb prices rise and affordable accommodation is booked up months in advance.

Frustrated by the lack of gentleness in these environments, digital artist Molly Soda and poet Rachel Bell made a conscious decision to use the platform of SXSW to throw a more accommodating type of art show. Inclusive of all creative mediums, Into You is a two-day event, (with sleepover in between), guest curated in part by Art Baby Gallery’s Grace Miceli, showcasing work from her roster of art’s most exciting talents, including Dazed 100 star Maisie Cousins, Ashley Armitage, Signe Piece, Terrell Davis and more.

“I personally have a hard time with the typical gallery show – it’s so sterile, and I want nothing to do with that. There’s a special sort of self-awareness that occurs when you step into a gallery or a museum. We wanted Into You to emphasise comfort and warm feelings, you could see it as an immersive sleepover installation piece,” says Soda.

With the online community providing an environment for on-the-rise artists who often feel excluded from more traditional aspects of the industry, the increasing amount of DIY curated group shows can often feel as much of a social event as they are an industry one. An IRL opportunity for digital based artists to come together, exhibit work on their own terms and provide mutual support for one another, Bell and Soda are pushing this model one step further by hosting an inclusive sleepover – karaoke included – as part of the event’s proceedings.

Disinterested in playing into traditional notions of competitiveness and inter-disciplinary rivalry, these next-gen artists understand the strength in numbers is one of the best ways to subvert art-world stereotypes and the cold sterility of the industry.

“We all need to be more gentle and kind. There’s such a lack of empathy, everyone’s so on edge, so ready to cut each other down.” Soda continues, “I see it a lot online, which is often a place we go to to seek support. We could all learn a thing or two in the way of mindfulness, myself included.”

Into You takes place from the 17-18th, March 2016 at ATM Gallery/Studio. More info here