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Art & Culture
Auld Lang Syne
lessons learned from this profession
ok, I'm not the guy from SNL,
mostly true stories from my
more "it's all about me"
Iím at -7.13/-7.33 on The
Political Compass. Where
observations on the human condition
take a trip with me
Published in the Columbia Daily Tribune 9 October 2005|
Odds & EndsHereís a joke for you: How do you draw a hurricane?
With pencil & paper.
OK, that's not much of a joke. Let me try again: How do you paint
a flooded city?
All right, I'm not much of a comedian. But neither were hurricanes Katrina and Rita. Now, I've seen different special-interest relief organizations, everything from those which help people needing kidney dialysis to those that take care of pets left behind during the evacuation. All good and worthy causes, no doubt. Though I do have to wonder a bit about the one for the guy who lost all his "Star Wars" figurines . . .
But seriously, Katrina and Rita between them put a real hurt on artists and art organizations all throughout the South. You can't paint without your brushes and pigments. You can't draw without paper and pencils. You can't perform without your instruments. Artists of all sorts, who are usually under-insured and without the resources many middle-class people take for granted, were particularly hard hit by the storms and their aftermath. And, unfortunately, many arts organizations will be way down on the list of priorities as cities and counties try and rebuild.
But for those of us who support the arts, there are ways to direct our contributions to artists and arts organizations. The Southern Arts Federation and Americans for the Arts both have established funds to help local arts organizations and even individual artists in the affected areas. They're legit organizations, vetted by the Missouri Arts Council, and 100% of any contribution will go to help. Check out both, and help if you can: http://ww3.artsusa.org/get_involved/emergency_relief_fund/default.asp and http://www.southarts.org/news02.shtml
* * *
Some time back I wrote about the Art Pledge initiative being organized by Lorah Steiner of the Columbia Convention and Visitors Bureau and the Columbia Art League, and promised to provide information on how you can sign up. Well, the Art League has a link right on the front page of their website at http://cal.missouri.org/index.html so there's no excuse not to sign up.
* * *
The Columbia Art League has established the Betty Dashew Robins Fund for the Arts, in honor of the League's first president (see my column about Betty at http://www.columbiatribune.com/2005/Aug/20050828Ovat005.asp). The Fund will be used to support the League's ongoing efforts to host visiting artists, put on seminars, put up special exhibits, and continue Betty's life-long support of local artists. Donations may be made care of the Columbia Art League.
* * *
MU graduate student Valerie Wedel has a new installation/performance piece titled "CRUSH" up in the Brady Gallery (upstairs of the Brady Commons) through October 21st. You can drop in any time to see the installation during the gallery's regular hours: Monday-Thursday 10-9, Friday 10-5, Saturday 10-4 and Sunday 12-5. If you would like to see/partake of the performance component, you can do that during the following times: Mondays-Thursdays 12-2, Fridays 1-3, Saturdays and Sundays 12-2.
What is the piece all about? Well, I don't want to give anything away, but here's a little tantalizing bit from the artist's statement: "Welcome to my psyche. This is the physical manifestation of what I experience with people I am fond of. Hidden behind translucent layers of my attempts at protection, my feelings reveal themselves only to me. As the viewer, you have been made privy to them."
Don't be afraid. Ms. Wedel won't bite (I've been assured that isn't part of the performance). And going onto campus to see what current students at her level are doing won't hurt. In fact, it's one of the real advantages of living in Columbia - the chance to enjoy the sort of art you would never find in a city our size without a major university.
* * *
Thanks for all the comments and feedback I've received. I do try and answer all personal emails, though I leave letters-to-the-editor to stand for themselves. And sorry, I still haven't tracked down where the phrase "Without Art, we are but monkeys with car keys" comes from.
all work © James T. Downey, 1993-present
photos © Martha K. John, 1994-present
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