Art News: Think Outside The Box

The Not So Annual Alibi Art Box Competition

Maggie Grimason
3 min read
Alibi art box
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All art is functional in that it elicits emotions, creates new ways of thinking and generates conversation—all of which are totally valid and worthwhile functions. Some art is also functional in a tangible way—for example, this morning I ate breakfast out of a bowl my partner threw on the pottery wheel. In that same vein, you may have noticed the many metal boxes dotting the urban Albuquerque landscape, their clear-faced doors turned to coffee shops, sidewalks, lobbies and storefronts. Those boxes with their plastic, scratched eyes trained on the passing world, dear readers, contain your Weekly Alibi. As such, they are necessary and functional and each contains a slew of possibilities to be determined by, well, you. That is, if you’re up for the challenge.

The end of this month (March 31, to be precise) kicks off another round of the
Alibi’s Art Box Competition—a historic, if not annual or unprecedented—challenge to local artists to design, energize and give life to the otherwise characterless distribution boxes that house our publication and have become so ubiquitous on the streets of Albuquerque. The process is something like this: By May 19, submit your concept (ideally in the form of a sketch, but, you know, we’re flexible) to us via email, Facebook message or by dropping the physical sketch at our offices (413 Central NW). We’ll then spend the following days mulling over the designs that we receive and selecting 13 that stand out from the pack. By May 26, if selected, you will have a (temporary) Alibi box of your very own to keep in your living room or garage, to eat breakfast off of or use as a foot rest. You’ll coexist with this box until July 1, at the latest, coaxing out its inner spirit with your chosen set of tools (which will be comped to up $50). By July, we’ll collect the boxes for display in a gallery exhibition, showcasing the makeovers. Artists selected to create an art box will also have an opportunity to display other work in this exhibition should they choose and will be honored at a formal reception held on July 7.

When the gallery show closes, we will all wipe a tear from our eyes as we send these newly minted, well groomed distribution boxes out into the world. Yes, by July 27, these boxes with new paint and lacquer will join the ranks of all the others—weathering wind and rain and graffiti, to be slowly worn down day after day by use until the artists may no longer recognize them as their own. Or maybe time will only call forth new iterations of each one, and you can smile to yourself every time you see someone pulling an
Alibi from the box you designed. Whether you walk away feeling proud or nostalgic, elated or conflicted, what you will most definitely walk away with is a gift card from Artisan (who is graciously co-sponsoring this competition) and a feature article about your work in the Alibi to clip for your scrapbook.

So, sharpen you drawing pencils and find a clean page in your sketchbook—we’ll be waiting for your designs.

Alibi art box

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