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Josef Palermo, Ward 1

Josef Palermo is an intermedia artist, producer, and arts organizer who has developed community arts projects all over Washington, DC, from Columbia Heights to Congress Heights, providing him with the perspectives of various arts organizations, independent artists, and other community members with a vested interest in the well-being of the arts and culture in the District.

In 2010, Mr. Palermo left behind a previous career as a community organizer for progressive causes related to the environment and human rights to instead focus on organizing his own community by uniting the diverse populations of his neighborhood through equitable access to the arts—founding CHARTS (the Columbia Heights Arts project) that same year. He later cofounded VESTIBULE, an ever-evolving collaboration of artists across various disciplines, whose provocative projects provide experimental entryways for new audiences to experience art. A firm believer in the democratization of art’s power to transcend the societal constructs that separate people from each other, Mr. Palermo is committed in his intent to connect communities through culture while facilitating access to the arts and bringing the humanity back to the humanities.

A Ward 1 resident, Mr. Palermo was named an “emerging arts impresario” in 2013 by The Washington Post. He is inspired by Allan Kaprow and the “anti-art” Fluxus movement; he creates, produces, and organizes art projects for diverse audiences through dynamic and contrarian approaches to exhibition. His body of work as an emerging artist reveals and recontextualizes constructs of identity, from the individualized self to the macro collective social structure, drawing on new media and immersive art realms to create interventions for audiences to actively engage with art in unconventional ways. He may be contacted at [email protected].