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David Guerra: On The Lookout For Art Rebels

David Guerra is the owner and director of A R E A Gallery and an independent curator here in Boston.  His recent endeavor has been to organize AREA CODE, an online art fair created in response to the COVID pandemic to support local artists. Looking forward, he wants to create a new model for art galleries, where people can participate in a safe way and “can be with art beyond art collecting.” He wants to provide a container of cultural energy that allows people to connect, without having to exist in one set, physical space.

Guerra was born in Havana and has a background in law, diplomacy, and politics. He finds that his background is not dissimilar to where he is now in the art world. His goal is to create a platform to amplify the work of his artists, creating a space where the artist can speak and enlighten everyone with the quality of their ideas.

He has served as both a mentor and juror for the Arts & Business Council’s Feldman Fellows last year.

“One of the things that I love the most about the Arts & Business Council of Boston is the amount of resources that the organization makes available for artists to succeed,” Guerra said. “This is something that fills the gap in arts education. The A&BC has become a very useful, efficient, and knowledgeable source of development tools. It also supports an engagement with the community.”

He was able to contribute his unique point of view as a gallery owner, art dealer, and curator to help mentor the artists and potential fellows.

“Just reading every application was a very informative process to me,” Guerra explained, “because I got to see which ideas are being explored by the artists of this particular community.  What are their main interests, trends, artistic aesthetics, ambitions?  You can tailor your advice to be really helping that artist in those areas where they need to grow. It is a very tailored and customized experience. For me it’s a privilege, you are welcoming an artist with certain ideas and throughout the year you become a partner of that particular artist to make things happen.”

As a juror he shares what he is looking for (and is not looking for):

“I am interested in ideas depicted in very smart ways, innovative ways. I’m not looking for a medium in particular, I’m not looking for an aesthetic in particular. I don’t express any formal preference, if I may put it that way. I am excited to be impressed by a body of work that represents or offers a possibility to engage in a dialogue that I find necessary for these current times. So, I try to use that as a point of guidance, or reference, when guiding my decision-making process. How are you making a contribution?  How are you challenging the medium that you have been embracing?  How are you presenting your ideas in a way that can impact the life of people?  So, I think I am interested in how creative the solutions are that are offered. Let’s put it this way, I’ve never used this before, but it could be a fun way to put it: I’m looking for art rebels. You know, Art Rebels.  Who are the people who are rebelling, whether it is a convention they are rebelling against, whether it is an idea that is rebellious in itself? And that fascinates me, when I find people who stand out as rebels in what they do as artists.”

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