Off the press: Gallery raises cash to protect reporters

Taking dictation: The Ground Floor Gallery exhibit of paper art opening on Feb. 24 will feature the “Dear Dictator” series of envelope collages by Park Slope artist Allan Bealy.
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They are sending a message.

A Park Slope gallery will launch a counter-offensive to Trump’s war against the media this weekend, with an fund-raising exhibit of both political and apolitical artwork made on paper. The Ground Floor Gallery’s exhibit “Marked Urgent,” opening on Feb. 24, will raise cash to protect journalists — a task that is has become increasingly important as the commander-in-chief continues to slam the media, says one of the show’s organizers.

“Branded as ‘the opposition party’ and purveyors of ‘fake news,’ the press has been aggressively undermined by the Trump administration in an attempt to minimize their credibility and influence over the American public,’ said Krista Saunders Scenna, who co-owns the Fifth Street gallery. “Now, more than ever, we need to empower journalists to hold our government accountable and to provide us with the facts we need to remain informed and involved citizens.”

All of the pieces in the show are drawn, painted or collaged onto pieces of paper that can be used for correspondence, including letterhead, post-it notes, envelopes, postcards, memos, newsprint, and book pages. The format makes a statement by itself, said Scenna, because it can be used to write and spread news.

“We love the idea that it doesn’t have to be political or speak to what’s happening right now,” she said. “The medium sends that message and is political on its own.”

Each piece will cost $75, and $25 from each sale will go to the Committee to Project Journalists, an organization that defends freedom of the press. Scenna said that she and her co-owner chose the cause because they feel passionately about protecting the First Amendment from Trump’s efforts to stomp on it.

The gallery will display about 70 pieces of art in the show. Among the work is a bipartisan prayer for love, peace, equality, and unity on an envelope with an image of the Jesus’s face and the Capitol building, by former Brooklynite Ian Trask.

Another piece, by Park Slope’s Allan Bealy, consists of a trio of envelopes addressed with the words “Dear dictator,” featuring collages inspired by Uruguay’s military rule from 1973–1985. The message works just as well for Trump, said Bealy.

“Apparently our new leader has aspirations,” he said.

And during the opening reception, performance artist Daniel Ayat will distribute business cards printed with questions about social anxiety and other emotions, in place of the standard name and phone number.

The show will be the first in a series of efforts to raise money for groups protecting the Constitution, said Scenna.

“This is our first response, we will continue to be committed to supporting organizations that are helping out with the resistance in different ways throughout our season,” she said.

“Marked Urgent: An Exhibition in Defense of Free Press” at Ground Floor Gallery (343 Fifth St. at Fifth Avenue in Park Slope, Opening reception Feb. 24, 6–8:30 pm. On display Feb. 25, noon–6 pm; Feb. 26, noon–5 pm. Free.

Reach reporter Lauren Gill at or by calling (718) 260–2511. Follow her on Twitter @laurenk_gill
Updated 10:17 pm, July 9, 2018
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