Tuesday, June 21, 2011

The Importance of the Arts, and Change is Never Overstated


When I think about why I am in the nonprofit sector, and more specifically the Arts I think of the bombardment of low brow entertainment that has seemingly taken the place of art in themainstream. Bravo channel, which was once a stellar TV network showing the finest in Art, has become the halfway house for elite American housewives. While public television has continued to be a resource for fine arts on television, having choices like Bravo and A&E expanded the idea of the dissemination of great art. Now, the only true place to get innovative, artistic, and powerfully creative works of moving art is the cable and premium cable network.

This barren desert of art not only pertains to changes in television. At one point in film history (the late 1970s) American film had the promise of being as artistic as other European and Asian film movements, instead, creative decisions in most if not all Hollywood films come from corporate executives. Instead of Dog Day Afternoon or All The President's Men, we get THE ZOOKEEPER and GREEN LANTERN. The Hollywood blockbuster at times was able to be that film that we all talked about for days, maybe weeks, but now, we forget half of the movie as we finish our soft-drink induced bathroom break before exiting the doors.

What is my point here? Do I continue to have
these thoughts as I think about the motivation to come into my best job ever, or do I take a look at how I could continue to be part of the innovative, evolving process of artistic dissemination. This is where the Americans For The Arts (AFTA) Convention spoke to me. This convention re-ignited my desire for art, forced me to critically think about the technology of arts, and inspired me to embrace the very changes that I just lambasted on throughout the last two paragraphs of this blog.

As I ranted on the disappearance of the original intent of the Bravo network, I failed to realize (or remember) that YouTube, Facebook, Blogger, and other internet technologies have become the vehicle for art that shows itself organically, whether through street art and performance, or impromptu gatherings of artistic display (including yes, flash mobs). The power of art has been slowly removed from the institution and become more available to the masses through the constantly evolving technologies that permeate our daily lives.

Ben Cameron, Program Director for the Arts at the Doris Duke Charitable Foundation spoke to some of these changes that are impacting our relationships with the arts and with how we consume it's many forms. Listening to different perspectives, meeting new and exciting arts leaders and really engaging in meaningful conversations about the arts truly has become a highlight of this year and my life.

As I reflect on what this conference did for me and for my relationship with SDAFF, I can attest to this for certain, that my love for the SDAFF has strengthened and that my energies and abilities will be used to
help innovate and take the SDAFF to the highest levels of artistic engagement.

Thanks especially to the AFTA organization, and to the San Diego Commission for Arts and Culture, and ArtPulse for a great after party at the Diamond View Tower at Petco Park.

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