Founder / Executive Director: Kjerstin Pugh
Location: New York, New York (Hamilton Heights)
Occupation: Education, Conflict Resolution
What speaks to you about the above work? I've recently started following Monika Grabuschnigg. Her work is self-described as "Fleshy. Tactile. Human-ish" which I love, but her work also revolves around alienating environments (i.e.: much of our current realities), connectedness, and contemporary love-- topics that many of us think about a lot-- or at least I do! I also love that this piece was built for a streetscape.
Why start Offroute? Offroute was inspired by the young artists I have worked with throughout the years. I thought it would be interesting and meaningful to create a platform for them, as well as other artists, to be recognized and fairly compensated for their work. Also, Offroute speaks to the very personal and specific relationships many of us have with place, time, and objects. As such, I want to connect people with art that speaks to them directly-- nothing here is cookie cutter and not every item on the site will resonate with everybody. That's okay! Offroute is ultimately about creating a community of folks who hold similar values and who come together to support one another in a variety of ways.
What's your creative outlet? Walking. That's probably the top reason I live in New York. There are so many forms of art everywhere-- from old building facades to public art to community gardens to fashion. I love cultural histories and narratives-- you are surrounded by those here in a very active way. Even walking down a block, you are a part of the landscape and the story, if even for a few moments. To paraphrase Sarah Vowell-- she wrote that every time she sees a historical plaque, she takes a moment to stop and read it, as well as feel in awe for a moment that something happened here. That's how I feel about each block, brick wall, faded mural, old neon sign, almost everything that lasts more than 30 years here.
Board Member: Kimmy Rehak
Location: Pittsburgh, PA
Occupation: Educational management
Why are you involved in Offroute?: It perpetuates the idea that education and creating is not a finite process and can be appreciated at all stages of development.
Why did you select the above image? I couldn't pick a favorite from Hassan Hajjaj, but I like that one. I like how he uses everyday things in a creative yet constrained way and showcases his culture and comments on consumerism at the same time.
If you could only listen to one genre of music for the rest of your life, what would it be? I love Ethiopian jazz from the late 60s/early 70s, like Mulatu Astatke.
Executive Board Member: Colin Burke
Location: New Haven, CT
Occupation: Helping artists and arts organizations achieve their goals
Why did you get involved in Offroute? As an artist, I understand how rewarding it is to have people interested in your work and want to bring that into their homes. I believe in supporting young, emerging artists to pursue their visual arts practice by offering a venue to sell their work and to provide the art-loving community a place where they can find unique, handcrafted, one-of-a-kind pieces that are affordable.
What is something you are thankful for? Why? The view from my kitchen window. The view is of West Rock in the Westville section of New Haven. I appreciate its natural beauty from below and can go up to the top and enjoy magnificent views. It’s also been the subject of artwork and the location for some of my own art. It’s a state park with hiking trails and amazing views of New Haven, Long Island Sound, East Rock, and Sleeping Giant. On clear days, you can see Long Island. The surrounding areas have been developed and built up over the years but West Rock itself still looks very much like the way Frederic Edwin Church depicted it in his painting from 1849.
Board Member: Zaryah Thomas
Location: New Haven, Connecticut
Occupation: Artist, Student
Why did you select the above painting? I chose this piece of art because the artist originated in Connecticut, and her art has been speaking to me since she has become a positive figure within the art world. This piece, in particular, makes me think about how we are all looking to find our purpose and as long as we continue to follow the light down our path, we will find our purpose.
Why are you involved with Offroute? For as long as I can remember, art has always been such an important factor in my life. Offroute values the importance of art and the work that derives from young artists and I wanted to be a part of this community. To give young artists the opportunity to create and share their art is work worthwhile!
Favorite Quote: “Worry never helped anything, so why turn to it during times of need? It won’t nurture or heal you—quite the opposite, actually. It’s so much better to put the effort into something creative as a way to quietly meditate through positive action. Create, create, create!”
― Doreen Virtue, Archangels and Ascended Masters
Offroute Arts Liaison: Daisy Sosa
Location: Greensboro, NC
Why are you involved in Offroute? Art has played a huge role in my life and I found that I shared similar values with Offroute. I think that it is important to encourage young artists to share and to continue to create artworks.
What’s your favorite quote from an artist? “Every child is an artist. The problem is how to remain an artist once we grow up.” Pablo Picasso
Offroute Arts Liaison: Ivy Wang
Location: Granville, Ohio
Why are you involved in Offroute? I really want to do something for young artists like me.
Why did you select the above painting? I like the Tang Dynasty in China and this piece shows an early form of feminist power in China.
What words pop into your mind when you think about the community? People!
Executive Board Member: Dominic R. Rinaldi
Location: Bronx, NY
Occupation: Higher Education
Why are you involved in Offroute? Local art is an important contribution to not only building community, but to also showcase raw talent. Giving a platform for artists to show and sell their work, as well as connect with their patrons and other artists, is one way in which we can facilitate meaningfulness in world that needs it the most.
What speaks to you about the above painting? David Hockney has always evoked a sense of sensuality and expression in his paintings to me. The vividness of the colors, and the impression they leave, makes you feel like you've been, or are in, that scene. In this, I can almost feel the LA heat and the smell of the chlorine from the pool.
What words pop into your mind when you think about community? Trust, connection, openness, and diversity.
Social Media Fellow: Maeve Cunningham
Location: Branford, CT
Occupation: Artist, Student
Why are you involved with Offroute? I believe in Offroute’s mission to bring a community of artists together to celebrate the joys of creating. There are no limits or rules to the art we create- Offroute has made art accessible to everyone, while supporting local and young artists to pursue and share their art. As someone who is still new to creating my own art pieces, I love that Offroute has welcomed me and inspired me to create more. I want others to feel that sense of community and purpose when it comes to their artwork.
Executive Board Member: Rebekah Bentle Laudermilch
Location: New York, NY (Inwood)
Occupation: Education / Parenting
Why are you involved in Offroute? Community has always been a significant source of meaning for me and something I prioritized when I was in the classroom. I love that Offroute creates a community between young artists and also between the buyer and the artist, helping to shift away from consumerism and towards connectedness. Also, I love that Offroute helps everyday people like me get original art into my home!
What speaks to you about the above image? Manet's work helped introduce me to the capacity that art and artists have to powerfully push back against societal norms and influence culture.
What's something not a lot of people know about you? As a five year old, I aspired to be an opera singer... until my dad took me to the opera!