"It all began one balmy spring day in 1931, in the heart of the depression Era. Jackson Pollock, desperately in need of funds to pay the rent on his Greenwich Village studio that also served as his home, took a few of his iconoclastic paintings down several flights of stairs and set them up on the sidewalk near Washington Square Park. His friend and fellow Village artist, Willem DeKooning, in equally desperate financial straits, soon joined him."
"Early exhibitors were Village artists Alice Neel, Saul Berman and Ilya Bolotowski. Beauford Delaney trekked down from Harlem. It is now a showcase for over 200 artists from all over the world and is attended by more than 200,000 art lovers."
"Among the milestones that mark the past 77 years are the concept of the artists being selected as exhibitors by a jury of fellow artists, based on slides of their work being submitted; the abolishing of an early ban on nudes; the opening of the show to photography as an art form; and the recognition of crafts, provided each piece is one-of-a-kind and hand-made. Cash prizes, donated by individuals, organizations and corporations, are awarded in various categories based on selection by artist-judges. " all italicized text is from the WSOAE web site
My husband and I went to the Greenwich Village neighborhood of Manhattan over the weekend to attend the Washington Square Outdoor Art Exhibit.
The exhibit is now in it's 77 th year and it has been a favorite activity for us to attend for many years.It was a beautiful day and we enjoyed strolling around the Washington Square Park area looking at all the different exhibits of paintings, watercolors, sculptures, photography, and handcrafted items which were on display and for sale.
A few fanciful mermaid paintings:
This artist had many beautiful and delightful paintings depicting scenes and characters from Ireland for sale.
There were tempting booths full of an assortment of handcrafted art dolls and jewelry and clocks, etc.
Some still life acrylic paintings. I loved the bright colors the artist used against a contrasting black background.
New York University is located in this area of Greenwich Village, and I took this photo as it's my daughter's undergraduate Alma mater, and I knew it would bring back some memories to her.
These beautiful old brownstones are located on Washington Square North. As Henry James wrote in his novel, Washington Square:
" This portion of New York appears to many people the most delectable. It has a kind of established repose which is not of frequent occurrence in other quarters of the long, shrill city; it has a riper, richer, more honorable look.... the look of having had something of a history."
The houses are now mainly owned by NYU, and used as university offices, but one can't help but imagine the days when they were the elegant townhouses of New York aristocrats in the early 1800's.
After enjoying all of the art work we decided to take a little rest in the park and stopped to buy water at one of the ubiquitous hot dog stands you can find on many NYC street corners.
How could we resist sharing this? There is nothing like a NYC soft pretzel with spicy brown mustard smeared on top!
Inside Washington Square Park a jazz quartet was practicing, and they filled the air with lovely music.
As you can see the park's in NYC are well used and well loved by locals. We had to search for a bench to sit on.
And when we did find a spot to sit we were entertained by this friendly local woman who told us she comes to the park every day to feed the squirrels. They came up to her and took the nuts right out of her hand! She told us she also belonged to a local organization put boxes in the trees for the squirrels to use for their nests and that they rescued orphan baby squirrels. It might seem surprising to see such kindness in what looks to be a big and sometime brusque city, but the New York I know and love is filled with such good hearted people.
It has an outstanding history of arts, culture and music with such notables that once lived and worked there such as the poets Edna St. Vincent Millay, e.e.cummings, Dylan Thomas, Allen Ginsburg, playwright Eugene O'Neill, authors such as Willa Cather, John Reed, Henry James, Jack Kerouac, O. Henry, Sinclair Lewis and Edgar Allen Poe, painters such as the before mentioned Pollock and De Koonig, and Hopper, Sloan, Marcel Duchamp, musicians and songwriters such as Bob Dylan, Jimi Hendrix, Janis Joplin, Joan Baez, Peter Paul and Mary and Buddy Holly.
The list could go on and on, and each time I visit I'll try to highlight a different part of the village and bring you more information about it.