Tuesday, October 02, 2007

Portland, World Class, and Us

Numerous times over the past couple years the term "world class" has been brought up when discussing the future plans and/or goals for Indianapolis. I am sure most of you, like me, cringe at the term. What does it really mean or imply? Does it mean being more global, becoming more of a destination city, both? Despite the term and its possible meanings, the concern, as we see it in the art community I think is this, what can we do to make the Indianapolis art scene better. Better for our local artists, for exhibiting artists from around the world, putting Indy on the map as an arts destination of sorts, and fostering a greater symbiosis between the arts and the local community.

While reading the ever fascinating blog PORT, Jeff Jahn recently posted a piece titled "What Portland Needs to do to become a world-class arts city?", in response to a recent article written in their local paper. I highly recommend reading his post along with the articles he links to as I think his thoughts and the current state of affairs in Portland is somewhat similar to what we are going through here (though Portland's local scene is much further along than ours).

What interests me in reading about other cities and their art scenes is how similar the concerns are as well as what makes them different or unique. What does Indy need? Will the IMA and the future Virginia Fairbanks Art and Nature Park blossom further and put us on the map more? Will the new "Cultural Trail" live up to all the hype and talk that brought it about? With the recent announcement that Emily Kennerk's piece "Play" will no longer be created for the trail (her work being the first and I think only art work to have been announced for the trail to date) I have several misgivings as to the future of the trail and what it will do for the arts.

A couple passages from the PORT post that I feel applies to us here are these,

...artists like Sean Healy and my favorite by Jenene Nagy (#11 PORT's hard working behind the scenes business manager) concisely mapped out 3 big needs, more high caliber non commercial spaces, critical sophisticated arts coverage (PORT's mission but we can't do it all) and affordable studio space coupled with hard work.
and this passage,
More critical expectations of institutions and the degree to which they fulfill their purpose and how focused and reasonable their aims are. The trick is to do things well, rather than doing too much... i.e. focus. Too often people use "community" as a broad catch all that deflects the real questions about what kind of community, and the quality of what is presented.
Much of this I think ties into some of the ideas in my Tough Love post along with many of the thoughts and comments left. We are not alone in our trials and tribulations but we need to all do our part to see to it that things become better. Be more proactive.

3 Responses to “Portland, World Class, and Us”

Anonymous said...
October 3, 2007 at 8:39 AM

Sadly the "cultural" trail has little or nothing to do with "public art". At least that is my opinion of it. I cannot see that it enhances life in Indianapolis beyond providing an extension of the Monon trail into downtown Indianapolis.


Anonymous said...
October 7, 2007 at 12:37 PM

I wish artists in Indianapolis and this state were valued more, rather than just being Human decorations (If your ivited) at events.

I have lived here many many years and witness this way to much.

The museums, business, and the supporters of the visual arts need to hold a mirror to them selves and ask if they could do more for the individual artist in this community.

To become world class we have to become local class first.


lirio said...
October 8, 2007 at 1:42 PM

Local class! I like the sound of that so much better than world class. Walk before you run.....


All Rights Reserved OnTheCusp.org | Blogger Template by Bloggermint