This week, WPA connected with Chandi Kelley to ask her about the novel art subscription service Project Dispatch and their recent exhibition, Majority Rule. 

WPA:What is Project Dispatch? How long has it been around?

Chandi: Project Dispatch is an artwork subscription service founded in 2009. We currently feature 24 member artists that patrons can  receive original art from in the mail each month. We offer subscriptions of 3, 6, or 12 months at levels of $30, $60, or $90 per month. The subscriber can choose the artist that they which to receive work from, or they can be surprised by a different artist each month. More information can be found at

WPA: What is the purpose of the initiative and what do you hope to accomplish?

Chandi: Project Dispatch started with the idea that there needed to be a way for artists to make and sell small works in a format that was engaging and accessible for collectors. Particularly for those who are just beginning to collect art and where affordability is an issue. The element of surprise comes into play too, because the work comes directly from the artists studio and the subscriber doesn't always know what they are going to get. This encourages more than just art sales, but the creative process of the artist.WPA: How do you find artists to participate in the group? Is there an application process?Chandi: When the project was first formed, we reached out to artists that we thought had work that would be a good fit. It didn't take long for artists to begin approaching us to find out how they could become involved. I take artists based on how their work fits into the project and their ability to make and send small works on a monthly basis. Most recently, I put out our first open call and was overwhelmed by the response.

WPA: You recently had a show called Majority Rule. What was that all about? What happened during the show?

Chandi: From the open call, we selected 12 finalists to participate in an exhibit at Studio 1469. The goal of this show was to engage the audience by allowing them to vote on the artists that they would like to see involved in the project. Each artist was represented by 1-2 works in the main gallery and all guests at the opening were given voting stickers. There was a separate room just for voting where each artist had a board with their name for the stickers to be placed. All votes were tallied after the opening, and new members were accepted based on public response. All artists who received subscriptions at the opening were automatically accepted into the project.

WPA: You are also involved in a recently launched project called Outer Space. How did it come about?

Chandi: Outer Space is not exactly connected to Project Dispatch, but is a garage gallery and project space founded by Frank Adams and myself in Petworth. Space in DC is not easy to come by, and we felt the need to take advantage of an opportunity we had to create an alternative venue to showcase local artists. Our next exhibit will open in January with an installation by Victoria Greising and we have many exciting things to follow. We are accepting proposals on a rolling basis and information on how to submit can be found on our site.

WPA: Do you see Project Dispatch and Outer Space filling a void in the DC arts scene? How do your efforts contribute to and interact with the greater whole of our arts community?

Chandi: I hope so. I think that artists in this city, myself included, have to work so hard to make ends meet that it leaves very little time for studio practice. If I can do something to encourage the process of art making while helping artists gain exposure and sell work than I feel that my efforts are worthwhile. DC is a thriving city and I hope that people who are considering a subscription to Project Dispatch will think about how they are contributing to and encouraging the creative process of the artists involved. In the same way, the goal of Outer Space is to encourage artistic process by functioning as a working space as well as a gallery. Artist run spaces and alternative spaces add to the richness and diversity of the art community. It is something that we are seeing more of in DC, with places like Pleasant Plains Workshop and Delicious Spectacle, and I think it says a lot about the dedication of the artists who live here.

WPA: Tell us about Project Dispatch's upcoming show, One of Five.

Chandi: One of Five opens at Delicious Spectacle on December 7th and features works by 11 Project Dispatch artists. Each original work in the show has been reproduced as a limited edition of 5 for this event. We will be giving one of these limited edition prints with every subscription sold at the opening. The idea is to encourage subscriptions as well as individual works. We will also be launching our 2012 Artist Portfolio and will have limited edition postcard sets and gift cards available. The exhibit will run through January 4th.

WPA: What or who do you hope to impact or invoke with the work you are doing?

Chandi: I just hope that by creating opportunities for artists to do things out of the normal structure of the art world, that it will motivate artists to make work and motivate people to engage in it. And to subscribe to it! Art is serious, but it should also be fun.

For more information on Project Dispatch, click hereOne of Five opens December 7, 2012 at Delicious Spectacle. For information on the show, click here.

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November 15, 2012