Friday, January 15, 2010

Interesting article in Next American City - can we be "cultural locavores"

This Web article from Next American City - Next American City » Daily Report » The Revolution Will be Locally Funded - proposes that there is an arts  counterpart to the "locavore" movement. “Could we take the tactics from sustainable food production and apply that to art production?” asks Jeff Hnilicka, cofounder of the Brooklyn organization FEAST, short for Funding Emerging Art with Sustainable Tactics.

I think between organizations like InLiquid and events like IgnitePhilly, and the Philly Fringe Festival there is definitely a movement here in Philly that is very place-based and about making, supporting and promoting local art and creative endeavors. Yet, at the same time there is the struggle to support these enterprises in the face of other competitive pressures. How to deal with art collectors who might dabble a bit buying local art but go to NY galleries and Art Basel to buy their "real" art? What about artists who are nurtured in Philly but as soon as they are able to get NY gallery/dealer representation abandon their local roots? And what about galleries that represent ONLY local artists and don't give Philadelphians a chance to experience artists from around the world, and collectors the opportunity to not HAVE to go to NY to buy work by artists of international stature? And the Fringe Festival now has the companion Live Arts Festival that brings in artists from around the country and the globe (as well as also highlighting some of our most innovative local artists such as Pig Iron Theatre. Is that evolution an abandonment of the local commitment or an exciting expansion that allows our local artists and audiences to experience an infusion of new art and energy?

A lot of questions and no answers but I think this dialogue, this balancing of a commitment to local art and artists while striving to be a world-class cultural center, is a conversation at the heart of where Philadelphia and its arts and creative economy scene are now.

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