Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Post-Forum - a couple more questions

Since the forum discussion leaned rather heavily on the arts, on design, and on messaging (marketing, tourism, etc.), it seems worthwhile to consider what it takes to become an arts center, as opposed to an artsy and cool place.

With that in mind, a question I submitted - rather late in the forum, which doubtless received many during its interesting 90-minute discussion, was this:
Many upscale communities across the US lay claim to being "artsy" or significant places where art is made. How does Sarasota - or any wannabe arts center - establish objectively that they really are special?  
That's a sort of philosophic aspect of the matter, but one that needs to be addressed. There's also a more pragmatic question of what sort of commitment a community is willing to make to the Arts.

It seems to me that a community that makes quality art needs to make it possible for folks without a great source of income to live, work, find the necessary materials, tools, and ultimately audiences. In New York City, where I used to live, the pattern was that artists would take over a decrepit neighborhood, create workplaces, as they did in SoHo, TriBeCa, and the East Village - and then, as they became "cool places," attracting bistros, galleries, bars, restaurants and real estate mavens, the actual artists were priced out of being able to live there.

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