Post Exchange explores new frontier

Post Exchange is a collaborative project between artists to encourage creative ideas through the use of postcards. Every month, participants receive a card to decorate with another collaborator. This card is mailed back and forth between the two participants. Artistic ideas are incorporated on the card in a collaborative game-like manner. The finished cards are expressive and experimental. Expressed in the following is a glance at Post Exchange and an introspective of this upcoming creative organization.

(Photos courtesy of Post Exchange, Graphic by Selena Hautamaki)

Who is behind the idea of Post Exchange? What inspired the idea?

Post Exchange was created by artist Tammi Lee Oak after being annoyed about only receiving menus and ads in the mail. It grew from a game that started in college between Lee Oak and her peers, including co-creators Aria Hatfield and Kamari Williams, in which cards would be exchanged back and forth to create a piece.

(Photography courtesy of Post Exchange, Graphic by Selena Hautamaki)

Do you organize events or exhibitions as well?

We have some plans in the works for an event in November in which people enter to win unique mini masterpieces from participating artists.

How does your organization work? How can you participate?

Any artist who wishes to join can “like” the Facebook page and join when a “call for artists” message is put out on the Facebook page. Artists are randomly paired with other artists and receive an a envelope, postcard, 4 stamps, and a piece of paper with the addresses of the two artists. These are mailed out to one of the two artists. The two artists mail the postcard at least twice back and forth then within two months, the artists return the resulting postcard collaboration back to Tammi Lee Oak.

Are the creators of Post Exchange artists as well? What are their backgrounds?

Aria Hatfield

A pen and ink artist and experimental crochet and felt sculptor. She studied at Massachusetts College of Liberal Arts (MCLA) and received a Bachelor’s of Arts in Art with minors in Arts Management and Business. Now based in Worcester Massachusetts, Hatfield works at the Worcester Art Museum in the Protective Services department and volunteers at the Worcester Historical Museum for Special Events.

Janette Anne Santos

A Boston-based artist, arts administrator, and all around swell gal. She received her Bachelor’s degree from the University of Massachusetts Boston in Studio Art and Anthropology. Santos currently works in the administrative department of an interior design firm at the Boston Design Center. In her off time, she loves to run 5K’s, and practice her lackluster drumming skills. Not always at the same time though.

Kamari Williams

A Boston native who loves all things art and science. Although she works with many different mediums, her favorites are yarn and pencils. She received her Bachelor’s of Science in Biology from Massachusetts College of Liberal Arts. She currently works as a customer service representative and enjoys creating short comics in her free time.

Katherine DiPierro

A mixed media artist based in Berkshire County, Massachusetts. She graduated magna cum laude from Muhlenberg College in Allentown, PA with a BA in Psychology and Printmaking. Katherine works at the Berkshire Chamber of Commerce as a social media coach for local businesses, and manages an Etsy shop, Berkshire Mills, in her spare time. Currently, her favorite media are digital art, textiles, and acrylic paint.

Tammi Lee Oak

A Boston based artist who primarily works with watercolor and yarn. She received her BA in Arts Management from Massachusetts College of Liberal Arts and currently works as a Visitor Assistant at the Institute of Contemporary Art.

Postcard created by Janette Santos and Katherine DiPierro

Are there age limits for the creators of the post cards?

Katherine: Current artists are in college or are recent graduates, but there’s no limit on who could be a Post Exchange artist. So long as you’re open-minded and are into improvisational art, I can see Post Exchange as appropriate for artists of all ages. In fact, I think it’d be really fun to have a multi-generational Post Exchange between parents and their kids, or aunts/uncles and their nieces/nephews.

Do you have any other websites for Post Exchange other than Facebook and Tumblr?

Katherine: Not yet, though Instagram might be an interesting and appropriate venue for Post Exchange to spread the word and share #mailart from around the world.

What do you aspire to do with Post Exchange? Where do you see the idea in the future?

We hope to expand on the educational aspect of Post Exchange and create a pen pal type program, first in high schools and then all grade levels.

Originally published on

Sept. 27, 2015