The Free Culture Award is an honor bestowed every other year on two artists, one local and one international, whose work has made a significant contribution to grassroots, participatory culture and freedom of expression, and whose art and/or process embodies the organization’s unjuried, uncensored mission. Free Culture honorees are announced and celebrated in conjunction with the organization’s annual summer arts and music festival, Foo Fest. The biennial Free Culture Award is also an opportunity for AS220 to commission large-scale public works and/or artist editions from inspiring local and international artists.
Free Culture recipients are at the fringes of culture, pushing borders, and creating new territory in which culture, artists and art can thrive. These art installations are the celebration of the creative spaces that AS220 develops with the collaboration of the greater Providence community.
The handcrafted Free Culture Award, designed by AS220 Artistic Directer Umberto Crenca in collaboration with artist Steve Easton, takes the shape of a glass hammer inspired by a quote attributed to the Russian activist and poet, Vladimir Mayakovsky:
Art is not a mirror held up to society, but a hammer with which to shape it. -Vladimir Mayakovsky