8 comments on “Duh, Fire Is Hot.

  1. EAST; everybody benefits from the seriously hard work of a few impressive individuals who willfully chose to involve others in their self-created success. I’m happy that some tax dollars go to back up what they’re already doing, but more happy that they offered me the opportunity to make a tiny investment that got me into the great event, and into the well made publication. The book alone was worth the $. I say we clone the Bolm people- except for Schliefke, one of him is enough.

  2. I always go into those city meetings mostly as an observer. They gather these large groups of people but it feels like nothing gets done in the end. They’ve been revamping the cultural contracts funding process for the last few years and held many, many meetings. After a while, everyone is like “Ok, just give us our money” then complains because the funding has gone down.

    It’s great that the city is committed to trying to boost or nurture the art scene. To quote them, they “want Austin to be the most livable city in the country” where “arts and culture are an integral component of a vibrant community and thriving economy”. They’ve outlined a year long process where they get feedback from the artists from these meetings, then plan to implement it in 5-10 years. I think it’s going to be difficult to facilitate the whole thing with the entire arts community. With so many people doing so many different things, it’s all fractured into their own scenes.

    They could try and do great things that benefit on a bigger scale involving everybody and attracting non-traditional audiences, but most of it is all talk, too much paperwork, and long winded studies followed by sitting around. Artist run initiatives like EAST have been able to do well because dedicated individuals made them work and happen quickly. Bolm Studios is a city contractor and that money probably went into organizing EAST, but that’s where the city’s involvement ended. So they are helping make things happen, but do they necessarily need to have their fingerprints on it?

  3. Yes it is fractured, but everyone wants/ needs the same things!

    I’ve heard “whispers in the winds” that suggest a lack of real leadership. Like real politicians, the community is given lip-service with little to no results, while they maintain a very comfy salary with benefits.

    We can’t clone anybody yet, so I hope the Bolm people remember not to spread themselves too thin.

  4. Good fingerprinting (besides Bolm’s); most of my art-world contacts (models, studios, artists, supplies, events listings, photographers, business partner) come from CL;

    And for the record, not all of us capitalists are heartless monetizers. Moses said not to harvest the corners of your fields…

  5. Apparently VK, the one in charge of the cultural arts division, hasn’t done much to make himself well liked to some organizations in town either. I’ve heard those “whispers in the wind” from those who have had meetings and tried to work with him.

  6. VK is not alone. What is the difference between Civic Arts and Art In Public Places?
    http://www.ci.austin.tx.us/culturalcontracts/contactus.htm
    And how did that separation come into existence?

    About fingerprints: No the city does not have to actively be involved, but they do need to be transparent enough to be called upon to rectify “economic sinkholes”. That is to say, terminate unsuccessful projects or contractors. And when projects/ contractors are successful, the city should be able to join in on the boasting and claim a sliver of ownership.
    With EAST, if actual money wasn’t immediately accessible, the city could have at least helped line up services, if not actually provide them (Dillo, HUB, etc.)

  7. There is already what you could call “quality control” through a panel review process to all potential contractors. Everyone who scores above a 75 gets funded now. At the end of cycle, final reports are due and everyone is encouraged to submit their success stories. So the information for a little bit of bragging is there if they want to use it.

    EAST definitely would benefit from some kind of transportation. Who knows if anyone in the city feels it should be outright provided though. Capital Metro provides shuttles for ACL but they are a sponsor. With EAST growing, it’s something the organizers could look into and the cultural arts division could help serve as a liaison.

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