Unit 4

Unit 4: Bread for Work with Sean Starowitz

August 21, 9am-4pm

Republic Bank – Republic Bank – 601 W Market St Louisville, KY 40202

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About Bread for Work, initiated by Sean Starowitz and Alex Elmestad

Bread For Work was a 2-day event developed by St. Louis-based artist and museum programmer Alex Elmestad and Kansas City-based artist and baker Sean Starowitz. The project occurred on August 15th and 17th, 2014 at Lots, a site-specific installation developed by Freecell Architecture for PXSTL. Located across the street from the Pulitzer  Arts  Foundation at 3713 & 3719 Washington Boulevard, PXSTL was initiated to explore how small-scale interventions can spur long-term revitalization and to provide the public with an outdoor space for cultural activity in the heart of the Grand Center neighborhood.

During Bread for Work, edible bread tokens will be offered to the public in return for goods or services to be rendered at a specified time. This creates an exchange similar to a time bank, and provides the public with substantial nourishment for their work. The Cowry Collective Time Bank (CCTB) was onsite to facilitate and track the exchanges between members of the public. Local bakeries, such as Companion, Panera (St. Louis) Bread Company, Fazio’s Bakery, and Kansas City based Farm to Market Bread Company supplied the bread tokens. Various conversations occurred with collaborators, individuals, unions, and others throughout the implementation of the exchanges. Joan Suarez, Co-Chair of the St. Louis Workers’ Rights Board and Founder of Bread & Roses Missouri, and  Allan MacNeill, Associate Professor, History, Politics and International relations at Webster University were both invited to speak. All monies, both bread tokens and US currency, paid to key collaborators or the public in the project acted as symbols that generated greater awareness of current labor related issues in America.


Sean M. Starowitz’s work is executed in a variety of social, political, and community engaged contexts. Notable projects include Fresh Bread, BREAD! KC and Byproduct: The Laundromat. He has also explored curatorial projects such as The Speakeasy, and Vagabond, Kansas City’s premiere pop-up restaurant. He has contributed writings to Proximity Magazine and Temporary Art Review, and has lectured at Queens College in NY, UCLA’s World Arts and Cultures Department, and at American University in D.C. He currently resides in Kansas City, Missouri as the artist-in-residence at the Farm To Market Bread Company. He is a 2010 graduate of the Interdisciplinary Arts program at the Kansas City Art Institute and a 2012 Rocket Grant recipient with support from the Charlotte St. Foundation, Spencer Museum of Art and the Andy Warhol Foundation. More recently, he is a 2014 Charlotte St. Foundation Visual Art Award Fellow.

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