I had been planning to start up a collaborative mail art project since mid-2007. Fifteen months ago (three years later), I finally ran out of excuses and put my plan into action. Thus, the Postcard Collective was born.
The Collective was, initially, an experiment. I sought to determine whether the mail art model is sustainable in the age of the Internet; in other words, I wanted to see if there was still a desire among artists to share their work in the form of tangible objects. A few days later, I had my answer: yes!
This project was (literally) an overnight success. I had put out a call for the Spring 2010 exchange on my blog, and announced the blog post on Twitter, optimistically hoping for 20 participants over the next two months. Man, was I wrong about that. I had met my goal within the first 24 hours, and suddenly found myself worrying about taking on too many people. I closed the flood gates and turned to a word-of-mouth approach to acquiring members. Since then, the Collective has taken on a truly spectacular set of active members, and transcended my wildest fantasies about what it could be and become something much bigger than myself, something important.
Looking back on the last year, managing the Collective has been an extremely rewarding experience. I'm grateful to those who've helped me bring this crazy little scheme to fruition. But, as a grad student entering my thesis year, it's no longer possible for me to be solely responsible for this project. So, in the spirit of keeping things going in my (partial) absence, I have assembled a dedicated board of directors to help make decisions, publicize the project, organize some group exhibitions, and many other administrative tasks. Not to worry, I'll still be pulling levers and pushing buttons behind the curtain; the only difference is that now I'll be able to get a full night's sleep every once in a while.
We've made several major changes to our operational procedures. I'll spare you most of the boring details, but I would like to highlight one that I feel is the most exciting. We are now actively seeking new artists! We're still ironing some of the kinks out of the system, but the plan is to allow 15 non-member participants into each postcard exchange. Calls for entry will be posted here on the blog as well as our announcement list (you can subscribe via the form at the top of this page) three months before the scheduled mailing dates. For more information, take a look at our Call to Artists page.
We have also put together a team of bloggers to keep a steady flow of interesting content, so stay tuned for that!
Needless to say, I'm thrilled to see what the future holds for the Postcard Collective. I have no idea what to expect, so I'll just keep making my postcards and see what happens.