‘Public Domain’ Project to Fill Cape Girardeau with Accessible Art

Screenshot from Kickstarter page showing concept of the dispenser in a public area.

Screenshot from Kickstarter page showing concept of the dispenser in a public area.

In future Cape Girardeau, several refurbished coin-operated newspaper dispensers scattered in high-traffic areas will have a different purpose: selling original, handmade pieces of art created by local artists. Believe it or not, these OG pieces will only be 50 cents a POP. Project “Public Domain” by Ashley Sexton hopes to bring this idea to fruition, but she needs a little support along the way.

The ability to purchase beautiful art in an accessible way is the goal of this project. White gallery walls can be intimidating, and to some, inaccessible, but this project invites everyone to view and own original artworks without the pressure that comes with an art gallery.

‘Public Domain’ is an art project that will bring original artist editions to the public via repurposed, coin operated newspaper dispensers.
— 'Public Domain' Kickstarter
Art by Terry Davis Photo provided by Ashley Sexton

Art by Terry Davis
Photo provided by Ashley Sexton

“Public Domain” leans on artist participation and the understanding that sometimes a discussion is more important than making money. Sexton is asking for some donations through a Kickstarter, covering only the initial costs of the project, which includes refurbishing costs. Other funds will cover materials for artists, such as cardboard backers, cellophane wrappers and more.

https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/publicdomain/public-domain-affordable-originals?ref=project_link

Several artists have signed on for the first year of operation, but Sexton is still recruiting artists for the future of the project. These are some of the artists signed on and about them:

Terry Davis
@terrykolb_davis
Terry Kolb Davis is pursuing an MFA in Printmaking with an expected graduation date of 2020. He is originally from a small town in the Midwest, and received his BFA from Southeast Missouri State University in 2017. While an undergraduate, he helped manage and maintain the Catapult Press, an appendage of the Catapult Creative House entrepreneurship space in Cape Girardeau, Mo. Since graduation, Davis has worked to develop experience as a fabricator for various professional artists and accredited institutions such as the Kennedy Museum of Art. He has worked as a freelance illustrator, muralist, private instructor, video editor and letterpress mechanic, among other things. His current work focuses on the integration of new and old technologies with an emphasis on the letterpress process in the post-digital age. His prints have been included in juried exhibitions and university collections most recently in Missouri, Ohio, New York and the United Arab Emirates.
What do you hope “Public Domain” will achieve, and what does it mean to you?
I hope that “Public Domain” will build public awareness and community engagement with local artists that exist outside of the established aesthetic. There are many flavors to Cape Girardeau's art scene, and I think this project is a great way to showcase local talent that may live outside of the pre-established framework used to define what art is and how it functions. It is also a way to invite diverse artists from around the world who's work may not be enjoyed otherwise. To me, that means the potential for the healthy growth of new, diverse cultural moments. Ultimately, this project has the power to expand the way Cape thinks.

Art by Clayton Petras Photo provided by Ashley Sexton

Art by Clayton Petras
Photo provided by Ashley Sexton

Clayton Petras
claytonpetras.com
@claytonpetras
Clayton Petras is an artist and printmaker residing in St Louis. He received his BFA from the University of South Florida and his MFA from Washington University in Saint Louis. He currently works as an instructor at St. Louis ArtWorks and as an adjunct professor at East Central College. 
What do you hope “Public Domain” will achieve, and what does it mean to you?
I hope to see success in this project not only on a local St. Louis/Cape level, but on a wider scale that sees this concept pop up in other cities as well as it gains recognition. Art for everyone is an important mission, and one that I think this project tackles head on. “Public Domain” takes the barrier to entry of entering into the space of a gallery to see art and tears that down, replacing it with the simple and highly relatable act of buying a magazine or newspaper, not to mention the barriers of art ownership it tackles as well putting a piece of handmade work directly into the viewers hands. 

Art by Jessica Lambert Photo provided by Ashley Sexton

Art by Jessica Lambert
Photo provided by Ashley Sexton

Jessica Lambert
jessicadlambert.com
Jessica Lambert is a current MFA candidate at Texas Tech University. She holds a BFA with a sculpture emphasis from Southeast Missouri State University. Lambert's work focuses on women's reproductive health, feminism, sensory processing disorders and human interaction through performance, sculpture, installation and printmaking.
What do you hope “Public Domain” will achieve, and what does it mean to you?
I believe that “Public Domain” will provide easy access to art for the general public. Art is often seen as something elite, but presenting works that are available to anyone will create an inviting introduction to the art world. “Public Domain” will serve as a platform for artists to present their work outside of the gallery and to be a part of a community.

Art by MeltyFace Photo provided by Ashley Sexton

Art by MeltyFace
Photo provided by Ashley Sexton

MeltyFace (Tyler Price)
meltyface.com
@tp_meltyface
A lowbrow painter/printmaker and tattoo artist out of St. Louis. Loves working with poppy color and subject matters that are disfigured and grotesque.
What do you hope “Public Domain” will achieve, and what does it mean to you?
I think that “Public Domain” presents a good opportunity for artists who create bodies of work that are more geared around gallery walls to gain some more exposure to the general public. It poses a similar interest as the sidewall libraries where people come back again and again to see what new books are there. I believe that this will help those types of people engage and appreciate art and commemorate that appreciation with a keepsake. Additionally, this is a project that can become more widespread to help interconnect art communities, whether by support, marketing, collecting or creating conversation. “Public Domain” is more than just the art that is put inside, but an opportunity for artists, the community and interconnectivity. My hopes are to see this project take off and no matter what city I go to, I can find a little domain to drop some quarters in and take a piece of that community and city with me.

Art by Haleigh Givens Photo provided by Ashley Sexton

Art by Haleigh Givens
Photo provided by Ashley Sexton

Haleigh Givens
@halesmcgales
Currently residing in St. Louis, Mo., artist Haleigh Givens specializes in drawing and painting. Pulling inspiration from both medical illustrations and natural occurring deformities found in plant life. She uses these as source material to grow upon in her surrealistic images she portrays.
What do you hope “Public Domain” will achieve, and what does it mean to you?
I am excited at the idea of contemporary artwork becoming so readily available to a much larger group of people. Too often, art is thought of as something unattainable or strictly for the “rich.” Being able to reach out and make a connection to individuals you may not have before is an exciting thought. Art should be for everyone, not just a select few.

Art by Candace Taylor Photo provided by Ashley Sexton

Art by Candace Taylor
Photo provided by Ashley Sexton

Candace Taylor
@candacetaylorr
Candace Taylor is a recent graduate of Southeast Missouri State University. Her medium of choice is printmaking as well as ceramics. After graduating she moved to Athens, Ohio and continued working in print as an intern for justAjar Press of Marietta, Ohio. In her spare time, she enjoys researching about women’s rights. This has always been a heavy influence in her artwork. She uses materials like hair, underwear and plants as a symbolism within her art. She hopes to one day own her own letterpress shop and ceramics studio in hopes to create a community space.
What do you hope “Public Domain” will achieve, and what does it mean to you?
I hope that “Public Domain” will achieve nothing but greatness. I think it is really important to reach out to the community, and what better way than art itself? To me, it means a way of communicating for what you believe in. I hope that my artwork will influence others to think creatively.