As previously mentioned, a pop-up exhibit of new works by Ohio artists incorporating public domain materials will be on display October 11 at the Homeport Gallery in Columbus:
Pop-Up Exhibit & Reception
October 11, 2014
779 East Long Street
Columbus, OH 43215
(Adjacent to the Lincoln Theater)
We reached out to the exhibit’s founder and producer, Celia C. Peters, to learn more about the upcoming show and the relationship between artists, art, and the public domain.
Copyright Resources Center: What inspired you to curate an exhibit featuring artwork that incorporates public domain materials?
Celia C. Peters: I thought it would be an interesting creative challenge to present artists with: asking them to choose an element that speaks to them and use that to create something new. I like the idea of artists being inspired by the work of creators who came before them —- not to plagiarize, but to create something completely unique. I call it ‘recycling creativity.’
Also, before coming here, I lived on the East Coast for some years before (I’m still pretty new to Columbus) and I wanted to bring a bit of the vibe I’m used to — something a little different — to the Columbus art scene. This show felt like just the thing.
CRC: In your experience, why is the public domain important to artists and art in general?
Peters: The public domain is important to artists because it connects us to artists from the past and our shared drive to create; there’s something very powerful about that. It also removes the barrier of licensing fees from the equation. Depending on the nature of a project, an artist may need to access music, imagery or other creative elements from outside sources….and that can be cost prohibitive or challenging in terms of tracking down who actually owns the rights and paying to use the content. But, in the case of public domain content, though, it belongs to all of us!
CRC: You required participating artists to verify that the works they used are in the public domain; how did this process work?
Peters: We initially provided artists with links to a plethora of public domain material that they could use for their pieces. Artists in the show are providing me with links to sources that confirm that either the expired copyright of the content they’ve used was not renewed or that the work has been put into the public domain by the copyright owner.
CRC: Have you encountered any confusion or misconceptions from artists or your audience about what the public domain actually is? Has this exhibit helped you to educate people about the public domain?
Peters: There were a couple of artists who (like many others in the general public) weren’t quite clear on the boundaries of copyright. I think feel it’s very important for all of us as artists to know what protection our own work has as well as making sure we don’t violate anyone else’s intellectual property rights, in particular having access to something versus having permission to use it. I. So I try to shed light on copyright and also clarify where the public domain comes into play. And of course, having the support of the Copyright Resource Center was a great resource! [Editor’s Note: Thanks! It was our pleasure.] In talking to people about the show, I’ve found that lots of folks have heard the term ‘public domain,’ but they weren’t really sure what it means. That’s why I decided to include the definition on the show’s web site!
CRC: Can you share a few details about the new art that will be on display at this exhibit, and/or the public domain works that were incorporated in the art on display?
Peters: Well, I don’t want to give too much away…but I will say that Public Domain is a group show and that it features artists working in a mix of media: illustration, 3D art, painting, graphic art, video and even paper sculpture. There are very diverse aesthetics and very distinctive perspectives represented in the show, which is exactly what I’d hoped for. The artists have pulled from very different areas of the public domain for inspiration and, something else that I’m quite excited about: many of them chose to use public domain content in a different medium than the one their piece is in. I love that they’ve mixed it up. It’s all about imagination!
CRC: Thanks Celia– We look forward to the exhibit!
Photo of Ms. Peters
© 2014 Celia C. Peters
Celia C. Peters is an avant-garde filmmaker creating compelling stories of authentically diverse characters. Peters is a member of New York Women in Film and Television and the Writers Guild of America. Her psychologically inspired, character-driven screenwriting has been both prize-winning and recognized in competition otherwise. She is the founder of Artistic Freedom Ltd., and her graphic art, photography and video work have shown at galleries in New York, Dallas, Detroit and London. She is completing post-production of her science fiction short film, Roxë15 and developing her sci-fi feature film project, Godspeed. See her full bio at ARTISTIC FREEDOM LTD.
By Jessica Meindertsma, Rights Management Specialist at the Copyright Resources Center, The Ohio State University Libraries