Few industries are more exclusive that the art world. The saying “it’s who you know” comes to mind when thinking about who is exhibiting and seeing success. But what happens when we try to change how that ideology functions? A beautiful authentic community is born. Enter Visionary Projects, the inclusive art community growing a network of creatives and art appreciators who exhibit and network together, uplifting the whole community.
Five years in the making, they have achieved a beautiful and authentic group of creatives that is ever-increasing. The founding duo Haylee Barsky and Blayne Planit saw it as inevitable that they would build this group “it doesn’t come as a surprise” they admit, when reflecting on what they have achieved so far. It doesn’t stop at debunking the hierarchy of the art world either. Blayne and Haylee are reenergising the traditional white cube space with artistic interventions on their programme that will amaze the senses. We’re talking art walks, artist AMA’s, art screenings, a bottle painting workshop and a sound bath meditation. To delve a little deeper into their world we talked over email to the brains behind a new wave of creative connection and exposition.
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Haylee Barsky
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Blayne Planit
What inspired the current direction of Visionary Projects and what are you most focused on now?
While the platform itself has always been an artist-centered space for inspiration, the current direction is solidifying the community that has been built over the last few years and fostering those who now make up our global collective — the membership. We’re focused on all the projects that closely reflect our support for connecting creatives to one another, providing opportunities to show their work and all of the other curatorial projects that come with the mission.
Each month, Tableau hosts an industry Insight event featuring a different art world tastemaker who speaks exclusively to your members about their world. In November, you had artist Larissa De Jesús Negrón. How did you first encounter her work? What is it that made her stand out to you both and why did you choose to invite her to your panel?
Larissa and Haylee connected almost a year ago as she wanted a space that allowed her to share her story and journey as an emerging artist on the scene. Haylee has always loved her work so it felt easy and natural to invite her as one of our monthly panel guests. As a young Puerto Rican artist, her perspective and career trajectory is unique and valuable to share with the community. We also love to host events in spaces that visually support the conversations we have — so in this case, we hosted an intimate panel amongst her current solo show at Anna Zorina Gallery in Chelsea [NYC].
Blayne, you are “passionate about making art approachable and accessible”. How can we work towards achieving this?
I am! We can create opportunities for people to connect around art centered activities through inviting those interested into various spaces and conversations that feel welcoming and non-pretentious. The shows we curate embrace artists from varying backgrounds and experiences, paying attention to affordable pricing.
Haylee, with the portfolio roundtables that you lead in the programming, after co-owning an art gallery in the centre of Rome, what do you look for in an artist's work you’re interested in investing in?
I believe that while art is extremely subjective, there are certain compositional and contextual elements an artist naturally has that allows them to constantly evolve and experience success. When you see so much art on a daily basis, whether it’s on social media or in real life, it’s very easy to understand what makes good design and what is trending; but I also I think at the end of the day the type of art that resonates with you, especially something that you choose to invest in, is a deeply personal choice.
The membership is also online, expanding beyond your homebase of NYC - how do the two formats compare? Do you believe hosting is an art form?
Our Tableau community is global. We have people around the world that are able to get involved and connect easily because of our online initiatives, and we are so proud to have the opportunity to foster both kinds of interactions. Both formats are extremely personable and there is opportunity for consistent connections as there are meetups monthly in both spaces. When bringing people together in person in New York however, we are able to engage more senses and create more in depth experiences. Yes, we strongly believe hosting is an art form  — a type of curating, there are so many touchpoints to carefully consider and each one contributes to a larger feeling that ultimately creates a warm and inviting environment.
Can you tell me more about the curational side of Visionary Projects? Is this also an opportunity for members who are artists to exhibit, or an opportunity for art insiders to discover emerging artists?
The curatorial side of Visionary Projects is extremely important as it drives our passion and mission toward supporting artists through providing exhibitional opportunities. Since we curate group shows often, they are both opportunities for our members, our larger artist network and for those interested in discovering emerging artists. Our shows have a mix of member art that we consider first. We have also discovered amazing artists through our open call submissions, and we occasionally invite emerging artists to shows depending on the project!
Can you provide any details of what to expect at your show at High Line Nine Galleries this December?
Our show will be up starting December 13th. We’re excited to be working with 100 artists in a salon style show celebrating our shared human experience. There is a big list of unique gallery programming from art walks, to artist AMA’s, art screenings, a bottle painting workshop and a sound bath meditation — there will be something for everyone. We want to bring the traditional white cube space to life through engaging and personal experiences.
What exhibits are you enjoying right now?
We are constantly discovering new galleries and art spaces and are always amazed at the seemingly endless exhibits and events. This month we would love to give a shoutout to Larissa De Jesus Negron’s exhibition at Anna Zorina Gallery and Trotter and Sholer’s current exhibition Simple Fire is incredible, featuring a two-person exhibition by Kate Rusek and Lara Saget.
Where does your role fit within the politics of the art world?
Coming from non-traditional backgrounds, we understand the importance of curating communal and accessible experiences that can make the art world a more inviting space. We also know how diverse our community is as it spans across many different backgrounds and generations. Some of those involved may not have much interaction with contemporary art, or don’t live in big cities and want to understand it more — so it’s really about finding space for everyone.
Can you talk more about your members and the community you hope to build? We understand inclusivity is at the foundation of that. Can you speak more about that?
Our members are from all around the world. A majority of our founding members and our growing community is made up of artists, however our community is for anyone who is a creative or an art appreciator. We are fostering both a global community that exists online and that currently extends to the New York area. We hope to bring as many people as we can into our space and provide opportunities to connect and engage - we are inclusive because we allow members to join that are genuinely interested in the arts and craving a creative community, there are no other prerequisites. We welcome people with open minds and creative spirits.
Who are a few of the leading members of your community?
The community is about creating an equitable space, so all members' talent and experience vary greatly which is why we’re passionate about the community as a whole and not individual members!
Finally, how would your younger selves respond to knowing what you have accomplished so far with this art platform and active community?
It’s been more than five years in the making since curating the first Visionary Projects event in Rome. Having always embraced social media as an extremely powerful tool of self expression growing up, it doesn’t surprise Haylee that she grew a platform combining almost all of her creative inspirations into one. It’s a great feeling to see how inspired people are by what we are doing, and we’re both incredibly proud and excited of what we are building and evolving towards.
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