“What’s Your View?” Mail Art Show

What's Your View? Mail Art Show: Top Of The World Trade Center (Baltimore, MD)
Photo Credit: Bonnie Schupp

In December, Erika and I were selected to display art at the Top Of The World Observatory, on the 27th floor of The World Trade Center in Baltimore. We put out a mail art call, and asked people all over the world to respond visually to the question “What’s Your View?” and then we waited.

For the next six weeks, art poured in from 20 countries and 23 states, including Washington DC. Next came the cataloging, scanning, and organization and before we knew it, it was time to work on installing the show.

What's Your View? Mail Art Show: Top Of The World Trade Center (Baltimore, MD)
Photo Credit: Ashley Knight

For the actual installation, we strung the 200+ submissions through twine and reinforced them with clothespins. The strings hung from brown paper packages that Erika and I had decorated and sent to each other through the mail.

What's Your View? Mail Art Show: Top Of The World Trade Center (Baltimore, MD)
Photo Credit: Bonnie Schupp

The show was organized by Melissa Webb, who works for Baltimore Office Of Promotion & The Arts, and she helped Erika and I stay on track. We also got to work with lovely and helpful ladies like Amy and Betsy at the Top Of The World Observation Level.

The show opening was held on February 6th from 5:30-7:30 pm. People from the community were able to come to the observatory level for free, eat catered snacks, and enjoy a view of Baltimore City from 27 stories up… oh, and see all the fantastic mail art!

What's Your View? Mail Art Show: Top Of The World Trade Center (Baltimore, MD)

Mail art, for those of you who don’t know, originally began in the Fluxus movement during the 60’s, with artists like Ray Johnson. It happens when art is sent via the postal system. Mail artists send postcards, envelopes, and packages decorated with mediums such as rubber stamps, collaged ephemera, and artistamps (self-made postage with no monetary value). Objects can also be sent as-is (AKA “Naked Mail“) with the correct amount of postage adhered directly to the item. Things like toys, tools, and office supplies have safely arrived in the mailbox of their recipients, sans packaging. The act of sending something beautiful to a loved one through the post is an incredible thing.

What's Your View? Mail Art Show: Top Of The World Trade Center (Baltimore, MD)
Photo Credit: Bonnie Schupp

Part of our exhibit featured a Make Your Own Mail Art table, and we were excited to see people working at it throughout the opening. After participants create their own postcard, they are instructed to hang it up on the clothesline (at the end of the installation), and after the show is over I will be adding postage to the cards and mailing them to their designated recipients. The table will stay up throughout the show, which is over at the end of March.

What's Your View? Mail Art Show: Top Of The World Trade Center (Baltimore, MD)
The blank yellow postcards were supplied by Karen Merrill of Minneapolis.

It was very exciting to see artists from the community come to see the work they had submitted. Professional artists and amateurs alike were strung together in postal harmony, demonstrating that not only can anyone be an artist, but anyone can send mail art!

What's Your View? Mail Art Show: Top Of The World Trade Center (Baltimore, MD)
Photo Credit: Sasa Milenkovic

Erika and I are so grateful to all the participants from this exhibit. We absolutely could not have done this without you. If you are interested in purchasing a published book, featuring each submission and photos from the opening reception, you can do so soon. Stay tuned for updates!

What's Your View? Mail Art Show: Top Of The World Trade Center (Baltimore, MD)
Photo Credit: Sasa Milenkovic

The exhibit will stay up until March 29, and anyone is welcome to go up to view it during visiting hours after paying a general admission (no more than $5). Thank you to everyone involved making this mail art show happen, and for the great opportunity! If you are interested in getting into the world of mail art, feel free to utilize these resources: How To Navigate The US Postal Service, How To Find Penpals, and 50 Things To Tell Your Penpal.

Additional write-ups: Bonnie Schupp, Mori-Art | Moo

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