Wednesday, August 06, 2008

Working Together Towards Change: Looking at Portland

In an attempt to inspire optimism and a spirit of working together to make things better, contrasting the recent discussions concerning the possible cutting of arts funding here in Indianapolis, I bring to you one cities new attempt to be seen and noticed not just locally but internationally. The city, Portland, Oregon. Our regular readers already know that I have long been a fan of PORT, the Portland area arts blog. Well, having been overwhelmed with the pessimism of recent discussions I was inspired by an email I received tonight from e-Flux.

Via e-Flux:

Portland Art Focus

Visit the City
that Creates.

This fall, Portland, Oregon, is the city where world-class art, neighborhood restaurants, and a multitude of recreation options all come together to make Portland one of the most culturally exciting and livable cities in the nation. Portland Art Focus, a group of art and cultural institutions in the city, invites you to visit. This fall, make Portland your destination.

Via Portland Art Focus website:
The Portland Art Focus is a group of nine arts and cultural institutions in Portland, Oregon, who have come together to raise the national and international visibility of the vibrant culture happening in the city, from culinary arts to collecting museums to contemporary art festivals. Through strategic marketing campaigns in media markets across the country, Portland Art Focus seeks to increase cultural tourism to the city and the region—an influx of visitors we believe will enhance our local economy, benefit our citizens, and make the city a desirable place for residents and cultural tourists alike.

Just brainstorming here, but...
We should do this. Let's bring together the IMA, iMOCA, IDADA (and all participating galleries), the Arts Council, the Cultural Tourism board, the Indianapolis Arts Center, Herron School of Art etc., to work together and schedule a month long event for next fall. Everyone would schedule their A game for that month. Their best possible exhibitions. Open studio events. Perhaps we would coincide this event with the grand opening of the Virginia Fairbanks Art and Nature Park at the IMA. An event which has the potential already to bring some national exposure and tourists to Indianapolis. Through cross promotion, booklets, website, email marketing, billboards and such, we could stir up not just more local interest but offer those travelers coming to Indianapolis much more for their cultural dollar. Together we have a better chance of making waves here in Indy. While this could in theory be put into practice during other events such as the Indianapolis 500, I think the arts would be over shadowed by that event as it is every year. But like Portland, choosing a month that is not already devoted to other major city wide events, we can let the focus fall directly on the arts in Indianapolis. Let's put our heads together and see what we can think of, to make an impact and stir up some arts excitement.

Just thinking out loud, so to speak.

2 Responses to “Working Together Towards Change: Looking at Portland”

Jeff Jahn said...
August 7, 2008 at 12:48 PM

PAF is an interesting... those of us who live in Portland kinda take all the culture and food for granted and after years of the New York Times etc. articles the players in Portland decided to start directing people's gaze and crafting our own story. PAF supports PORT, takes out ads in the New Yorker and Art in America etc. It's a start... though POVA (our city's tourism etc. agency) has had numerous cuts to its budget.

If you want people to come you gotta let them know when something is going on.

In September we have PICA's Time Based Art festival, PAM's show of Ed Ruscha's latest paintings and the Contemporary Northwest Art Awards, Museum of Contemporary Crafts has a Natzler ceramics exhibition I'm stoked to check out today, NAAU's next couture stipend show, all of the galleries plus I'm curating an independent warehouse show called Volume (about how portland artists use/abuse space)... etc.

Scott said...
August 7, 2008 at 3:55 PM

Hey Jeff,

Thanks for the update. We are slowly but certainly beginning to build up some steam, here in Indianapolis. The youthfulness of Portland gives you a leg up, as Indy is still quite conservative. But, with the recent changes at the Indianapolis Museum of Art, the forming of the Indianapolis Downtown Artists and Dealers Association and the Arts Council's recent Public Art Projects, we are finally building a solid base for us to grow upon.

While I have never had the opportunity to visit Portland myself, I do hope to get there one day soon. From images I have seen of your previous curated exhibitions and by the artists on your list for Volume, it sure looks as if it will be an exciting show. Good Luck and keep up the great work over at PORT.

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