Art appraiser and entrepreneur Morgan Cobb has a vision to turn innovation into an art form. What does that look like?
Imagine a sort of startup pitch day held at an art gallery with photo portraits of entrepreneurs overlaid with QR (Quick Response) codes that link viewers virtually to company founders. Imagine the real-time exchange of art, business and support.
That’s the idea behind “Disruptors, QRtifacts by Peiter Griga,” curated by Cobb, which opens April 26 at Covington’s Artisan Enterprise Center
“The whole event was designed to encourage collaboration, participation and appreciation,” says Cobb, 28, who founded Newport’s Bryson Appraisals
four years ago.
The exhibit started with a conversation between Cobb and fellow curator Cate Yellig
, who took over as the city of Covington’s art director earlier this year. Yellig, who works at the intersection of economic development and arts programming, was in search of a way to bring together local entrepreneurs and artists, groups she believes have much in common.
“It was really kind of serendipitous,” Yellig says of the exhibit, which features 10 local startups that have a total of 12 founders, including nugg-it
Cobb, who has degrees in art history and economics, had become engaged in the local startup ecosystem. She welcomed a chance to connect her two passions.
“Entrepreneurs face the same challenge as contemporary artists,” Cobb says. They strive to remain creative, relevant and “hip.”
The startups featured in 'Disruptors' are in various stages of development. Some, like We Have Become Vikings, have achieved a level of notoriety, while others, like GamiGen
, are less known.
“They haven’t arrived yet, but they have all this potential to be cutting edge,” Cobb says.
In order to fully experience the opening, Cobb urges potential visitors to bring their smartphones. It will also help to visit
'Disruptors' online in advance and to download QR and Twitter apps. The event also includes a projection of a live Twitter feed.
“The Twitter feed is to encourage feedback and to broadcast the event to an audience that can’t be there,” says Cobb, who has invited venture capitalists and angel investors, as well as a DJ and performance artists, to the opening.
Even as she works to give entrepreneurs a new platform to communicate their ideas, Cobb also incorporates artistic innovations that have already drawn interest from venues in Austin, Texas. Photographer Peiter Griga
, a personal friend, started by photographing each of the entrepreneurs the old-fashioned way—on film.
He then prints the images by mixing silver nitrate with organic honey, which is, at the microscopic level, a living thing. The print process then mirrors how technology and life intertwine. “The media was an important component to the concept,” Cobb says. “It’s an artifact, but it’s still a living thing.”
Most of all, Cobb hopes the exhibit helps foster an understanding of the struggles and challenges faced by both artists and entrepreneurs, and an appreciation for their work.
“At the end of the day, isn’t that what we all want?” she asks.
By Elissa Yancey
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