Junk Mail: A Mail Art Exhibition Wants Your Mail Art

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This article originally appeared in PureHoney Magazine. Check them out here.

If you’ve ever mailed something with a bit of flair – say a letter with an envelope featuring a little doodle, or even a postcard from an exotic land with some words inspired by the scenery – you’ve inadvertently created a piece of mail art. Especially so if the receiver treasures it as a keepsake and returns to it from time to time. Call that a work in a private collection if you will.

Mail Art, also known as correspondence or postal art, coined in the 1960’s and an umbrella term for any type of art form that can be delivered via a postal or logistics service, is a popular medium and interesting vehicle for creativity. Widely collected by some of the major art institutions in the world, mail art exhibits run the gamut of small objects to large and ornate works that seem impossible to have made it past the postmaster’s scale.

“The movement was made popular in the 60’s and was all about taking what already existed and making it into something new which relates so much to our mission of reuse,” said Chelsea Odum, the Director of Education & Artist Relations at Resource Depot in West Palm Beach. “It made art accessible for consumption and provided artists with creative problem-solutions for what they could attempt to get away with when mailing through the postal service.”

For over 20 years, the Resource Depot has hammered away at the growing waste problem in Palm Beach County, rescuing and upcycling unwanted and excess materials. Their collection of donations is redistributed amongst teachers, artists, families and other non-profit organizations that need them as a means of fostering creative, hands-on learning. Odum also runs the Depot’s GalleRE, an exhibit space for local artists who incorporate the reuse of materials and showcase of what can be done artistically with what most people discard. To date, GalleRE has hosted close to 20 exhibitions and “Junk Mail,” will be their first exhibition focused solely on mail art and reaching beyond local artists.

“Every exhibition we curate relates to our mission in one way or another:  Making creative opportunities and sustainable ideas accessible to everyone, while providing the resources for creative thinkers to express themselves in our community regardless of income,” she said. “We hope to include both our local makers, and creative re-users from afar.” The deadline to apply is May 29 and all works must be postmarked before or by Friday, June 4, 2021. If you feel a little bad about the mountain of deliveries you’ve received over the last year and want to flex your creative muscles while helping out the environment, a percentage of artworks sold will support the Resource Depot’s programs.

Junk Mail: A Mail Art Exhibition is scheduled to run June 25 through August 14, 2021 at Resource Depot 2508 Florida Avenue, West Palm Beach. For more information and submission guidelines, click here.

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Abel Folgar

Abel Folgar is the translator of the novella, Juego de Chicos.