Our Awesome One Night Stand

August 27, 2011

It was a humid summer night in DC when we were seduced by One Night Stand – the winner of the July grant from Awesome Foundation DC.

One Night Stand seeks out vacant lots in the greater Washington DC area and turns them into contemporary art venues for one night. The project team revitalizes the vacant lot, cleans, removes debris and prepares the space for an exhibition that lasts 2-3 hours.

Photo with thanks to @PinklineProject

The aim of the project is to provide spot exhibitions and involve the community in the transformation of their neighborhood.

The project is the brainchild of Randal Scott, and we talked to him about his inspiration for the project:

What is One Night Stand all about, what do you do, where is it, who is it for, and when is the next one?

In a soundbite…ONS puts contemporary arts exhibitions in vacant lots, unused space or wherever, for one night.

ONS was kinda put together on the fly. Traveling back and forth from NY I have lots of time to think and it just came to me (after a long process of looking at way overpriced commercial space in DC) to just throw an exhibition together in a vacant lot. I mean, why not. It’s DC, there are acres of empty spaces that no one uses. No one will care if I just show up and do something, invite some folks and socialize. And, even though I don’t necessarily ask permission to use the lot : ) it’s not like I am spray painting vandalistic graffiti tags on the walls…The project gives back in a positive manner…

So I ended up presenting the first exhibition in a residential neighborhood (off V st and 10thNW) for a total of 3 hours. A lot of work for 3 hours. I needed to give something to the neighborhood for using the space, so leaving the space in better condition than when I arrived seemed obvious. What I did was take a vacant lot, overgrown with weeds, littered with spent 40’s, garbage and whatnots that I probably should not mention, and clean it up. I went through two weed eaters, 10 bags of garbage and a lot of toxic crap people just dumped (that the waste management man kindly removed for me 3 hours before the show opened). The space was not pristine, but it was not about pristine. It challenged me to live outside my gallery comfort zone and despite the threat of rain and the ugly humidity of the day, went quite well.

My exchange for the community was to reinvent an empty space that was an eyesore and a danger to playing kids and, even for just one night, give the hood this cool exhibition in an unlikely space to visit and meet people in the neighborhood they might never have known. turns out the owner of the lot just happened to be at a church BBQ across the street when we were setting up. He loved the idea, took a good look at what we had done and green lighted my usage of the lot whenever I wanted. I love DC people.

How can people get in touch to support you?

www.randallscottprojects.com Facebook too – search for: One Night Stand

What advice can you give to other people thinking about applying for an Awesome Foundation grant?

DO IT. If a ADHD person like me can spend 5 minutes filling out the form, so can you…nothing is gained by not asking. And dreams do come true.

What does winning the Awesome Foundation DC grant mean to you?

It means that winning the lottery is actually possible and likewise, there is hope for funding small projects.