While I’m not convinced tax credits (or deductions or inclusions or . . . ) are a good thing to begin with, this is very interesting:
” [In Canada] parents get a tax credit for money spent exposing their children to arts, recreation, or culture . . .”
[Preceded by] “A couple of years ago, I compiled a list of my favorite books for a friend. I went through all the books I’d read for the past five years, and pulled out the ones I most loved.
I was shocked to realize about one-third of them were from Canadian authors. One-third. Not of the books I read, mind you, but of the books I loved.”
Via Stone Soup
The return trip from an annual work conference resulted in the accidental discovery of an art gallery in a town of 200, give or take. The Most Unlikely Place is in Lewellen, just west of Ash Hollow in western Nebraska (pictured below).
The Most Unlikely Place also has a frame shop and serves lunch — the lady serving rolls around on roller skates while serving soup and sandwiches. The town of Lewellen also boasts a small winery and an inn. With my coworkers, I spent a significant lunch hour talking to the family/owners of the business who also own (at least) two other buildings in the small downtown, one of which they’d like to see become an art center or something similar (the other, a former Post Office, they’ve turned into a swanky apartment). I toured it with the owner and his friend, a musician, who wants to put a recording studio in the currently gutted structure.
Each family member has their craft, be it painting, music, woodworking or culinary art. Each wants to see the arts help revive the small community. They want Lewellen to be the Taos of Nebraska.
It was fantastic to meet people acting on this kind of ambition. If you’re ever driving through western Nebraska, be sure to stop their for a long lunch and encourage them on in their vision!
A thought for discussion:
Is on reason that beauty is attributed to youth and not maturity because aging (leastwise death) was not a part of God’s original design?
Creativity is nurtured by freedom and stifled by the continuous monitoring, evaluation, adult-direction, and pressure to conform that restrict children’s lives today. In the real world few questions have one right answer, few problems have one right solution; that’s why creativity is crucial to success in the real world. But more and more we are subjecting children to an educational system that assumes one right answer to every question and one correct solution to every problem, a system that punishes children (and their teachers too) for daring to try different routes. We are also, as I documented in a previous essay, increasingly depriving children of free time outside of school to play, explore, be bored, overcome boredom, fail, overcome failure—that is, to do all that they must do in order to develop their full creative potential.
My wife and I are working to turn a vacant space I have access too — which has had a couple renters over the past couple years that just didn’t stick — into a downtown art center. With a newborn in the house and the necessity of a full-time job, at this point work on or in the space is only occurring every other weekend (or thereabouts).
There are four rooms, along with access to a large mezzanine stairway landing and a small bathroom. The largest room is about 20′x30′, second largest 9′x22′and then two smaller rooms that were originally built as safes in this former bank (by former, we’re talking turn of the Twentieth Century). Roughly the square footage of a small American house. I have visualized the entire space, now I just need money for electrical, plumbing and HVAC projects!
Where this idea goes is still up for grabs. We’re taking baby steps, so the idea is less about creating the Scissortail Art Center at this point than, perhaps, just taking a step in that direction if we can.
Via this YouTube video:
I don’t think that I know anything that’s reducible to a last word. Our people like to trade in that kind of stuff, but it’s stuff. It really doesn’t amount too much.
What’s really interesting is the possibility that we humans can make sense. This is an issue, this is a formal issue [of] the greatest urgency and gravity. What are the conditions within which we human beings can make sense? Within what limits can our minds be effective?
I’ve been griping about this to some of my friends lately. We’ve had two generations of college-bred people now who have really been indoctrinated now that every big problem has a big solution, and I just don’t believe it. The big problems we have now are going to be solved, if they ever are solved, by hundreds of people accepting local responsibility for small problems. They ain’t never gonna get famous, they ain’t never gonna get tenured for this. But this is the way it has to work.
We’re not really very smart we humans. And the idea that someone could come up with a big solution to a big problem is always dangerous. It always come down to the simple, the simple solution. People who make simple solutions always make trouble. And they’re always surprised by the trouble they make.
So, to hell with the last words. Let’s try and make one sentence that’s rightly positioned within a manageable context so that we can utter it to somebody else and they’ll understand it. And then we would be on the way to define a job of work that we can actually do.
Four months back or so an Internet acquaintance also interested in the work of arts centers emailed me a link to an academic paper titled Artists’ Centers: Evolution and Impact on Careers, Neighborhoods, Economies. The paper examines the history and success of artist centers in the Minneapolis/St. Paul region, where they are plentiful. Putting significant time and energy towards preparation for the birth of our first child, I made my way through it very slowly this spring, and recently came to the conclusion that I was already aware of everything it presented.
This didn’t occur to me at first. Considering my passionate interest in the idea of an art center, I began reading the paper eagerly. I expected to learn a lot, having no formal experience working with an art center. Yet.
I realized after reading the introduction (the remainder of the publication profiles the numerous Minneapolis/St. Paul art centers) that all of the thought and research my wife and I have thus far put into the Scissortail Art center idea had already brought to light all of the ideas and challenges presented in the paper. The financial challenges, the cultural challenges, the reasons behind establishing a center or retreat in the first place and so forth. In one respect this was surprising, then again not so much.
I’m not sharing this to boast. If I was able to do the research and critical thinking to plan for an art center without having first-hand experience, anyone interested in such a venture should be able to do the same. I’m sharing this simply to express the depth of my interest in this idea.
Hat tip to Shannon Newby for sharing the paper with me earlier this year.
From the Juniper Moon Farm blog entry titled My Accidental Manifesto:
And it all left me feeling a little…hollow. I worked my rear end off at my job but I had nothing to show for it at the end of the day. I like to say that network news is like golf- nobody cares what you did yesterday. The accolades were amazing but they disappeared so very quickly. There was nothing to hold on to, nothing tangible that I could pick up and hold proudly over my head while proclaiming “I made this!”
This is an interesting follow up to the recent reflection on the life of Johnny Otis.
I think those artists who have been pludging along and doing really interesting things either in their communities, in their businesses and their daily life have much more effect on the general culture than those who work only within a vertical trajectory.
By “vertical trajectory,” Atkinson is referring to artists who push to get into a gallery, get some sort of breakthrough by making it onto the cover of a magazine and become the next big name — the idealistic ideology most art students begin their careers aiming for. She points out rightly as well that even gaining this kind of notoriety doesn’t put you in front of all that many people. The art world is a fairly small group relatively speaking.
So it’s easy to see why Atkinson, who’s worked and taught in the art world for 30 years, believes artists who are “failures” can have a more significant impact on culture than the Jasper Johns and Christos of the world (By “failures” she means artists who won’t make the front page of an industry journal or the New York Times.).
Sarah Thornton, author of Seven Days in the Art World, talks about the definition of art, what makes a successful artist and why she’s glad she is not an art critic. This short, meaty video is worth watching.
Video via Savannah College of Art and Design’s deFINE ART series.