Friday, October 24, 2014

Public Art and Some Political Shit.

Note: It has been a very long time since I have posted anything on this blog. For the better part of the last two years I have been engrained in all my professional work, leaving projects like this to fall behind.

I know what you are going to say, "did he really just say public art?" I did! That is a very sensitive, very HOT topic that is circulating the social media pipelines. Holyoke City Council placed a temporary ban on public art. What a crock, right? I agree. Also in agreement are a bunch of artists. The city council, by accounts of quite a few people should have no business sticking their hands into such matters, considering there is a policy in place and the Holyoke Cultural Council is charged with signing off on public art installation.

Today I decided to express a few things, visually. The following images are from the back of my studio. The windows are tall and I have chosen to exhibit a few photos.  Engage, Community, Art... Community is an illustration that I produced, dedicated to the artists in Holyoke that are being challenged by their practices and desires to engage the community with their art. 

I call this piece, "One Big Metaphor"


What I am going to do is provide links to supporting articles about the subject matter, both the ban and another matter involving public art, below. I do not want to go on a tangent about the ban. But I will say this, I think it is ridiculous that a nimby-ist philistine would enact a policy out of personal vengeance. The moment I heard, "public art ban in Holyoke," I smacked my head with such force that I have a welt. As a friend of mine says, 1 step forward, 3 steps back. Holyoke has been dancing back and forth so long that it is in its own way, tripping and falling. Truth of the matter is that Holyoke, up until September was a place of raw inspiration, raw space, raw possibilities. I have been a part of an arts community for quite a few years now, often saying that Holyoke is what New York City used to be like for the artists, but on an obviously smaller scale. Artists have used public space, galleries, private spaces, industrial spaces, to show their work. I have seen entire pieces constructed around the industrial environment that we have here in Holyoke.

The reason for an abrupt self inflicted wound is because of the sheer balls it took to basically say, we dont want art in town. Whether that is the intended message or not, people preceived it that way due to the language that was used. The fact that there is a temporary ban is just nucking futs. It is almost baffling to think about it. Holyoke has an "Arts & Innovation District," A "Creative Economy," so to speak, and a position with the municipal government dedicated to the "creative economy," "The Creative Economy Coordinator." Last year we had a month long exhibition of various projects. "Holyoke Points of View." Ken Burns even came to town, Ken, fucking, Burns. That is a big deal. But fast forward a year and there is an issue with art. Art, as everyone knows, inspires, changes, motivates, and empowers a community. Art, for all intensive purposes has shaped, changed, rebuilt, and built communities. Art has and will always be a vehicle for social change, both good and bad. To place a ban on art is to ban the community from growing, changing, and thriving.

Please take a read through the following links if you are unfamiliar with the topics at hand. Enjoy your weekend...

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