#LateNightRant (and this one is probably going to piss some people off) I had a very smart person ask me the other day how I thought the art scene was doing in Miami. Trying to be diplomatic, I said, “It is better than it was 12 years ago, but it is still nowhere near good.”
To illustrate, I asked, “If you want to buy local art, where do you go?” A shrug and quizzical look was my answer. In other cities, other counties, even as close as Fort Lauderdale, there are an abundance of galleries that carry local art. There are whole zones designated for it. There are well-funded organizations supporting the local arts. Not in the 305. The only local artist zone we have is far off in the hinterlands and even it is falling apart.
I see every day artists grasping at straws, taking “opportunities” that are blatantly a bad idea. Yes, part of it because they are gullible (sorry, folks, no offense meant), but that is an education problem. They do not have enough of an opportunity to learn how to avoid those mistakes, except the hard way. And that is because the major funders in this town have decided that artist education is not a priority. Our one little educational program is desperately underfunded. And, nobody else is doing it.
But, this is also a problem of opportunity. A huge problem of opportunity. There is a famine of real opportunities for artists, so many of them just jump on anything that comes along, squandering their time and talent. Work for free, work for free, work for free. How many times do we hear, “it’s for a good cause”? Well, you know what is a really good cause, artists being able to pay their bills. Think about that next time you ask an artist to donate a piece of their soul (and that is a whole other rant that we’ll get to later). I see it over and over again, artists jumping on anything that comes along without any real critical analysis. Why? Because it is all that is available.
To compound the problem, many in the ivory towers, many outside the business, many people who are not on the street and amongst the artists every day like I am, they think the problem is solved. Seven or eight years ago, artists leaving or quitting the field was a significant topic of conversation around town. Now, you never hear that mentioned, except by me. But, it is still a huge issue.
It isn’t fixed, people. Artists in this town are still struggling. Many drop out of the field, many never enter it. Talent is being wasted.
Why is this so important? Because the local artists are the cultural expression of a place. Because the arts are not only an economic engine, they are also a significant contributor to quality of life, to the happiness and contentment of the residents. Study after study after study shows how important the arts are. They can help heal the sick, they can help teach the children (and the adults), they can make a place feel like a home, they can inspire the weary and speak for the oppressed, they can create opportunity for the needy (and for the rich), THEY TELL OUR STORY!
There is no longer any question of the importance of the local arts. But, it is not good here. Yes, it is better than it was, but there is still so much work to be done.
That’s it, I’m ranted out. Exhausted. I’ve held this one in for quite a while, but after recent events, I could not do so, anymore. via Facebook