Tuesday, February 18, 2014

Artists Congregating to Discuss Issues

Robert Boyd

So this thing is happening tonight. The Artist Town Hall meeting at the El Dorado Ballroom. The hosts describe it thus:
The focus of this meeting is to collectively discuss the growing needs of artists living and working in the Houston area. Topics of discussion are open but could include issues such as artist stipends, public art and exhibition opportunities, affordable housing, studios and health insurance. The Town Hall format will be interactive, offering multiple opportunities for participants to offer input and ask questions.

The meeting will be facilitated by three respected Houston artists: Ayanna Jolivet Mccloud, Carrie Schneider and Patrick Renner. Their role will be to help the audience identify some of the needs, questions and concerns that the Houston artist community is grappling with today and issues for the future. 
Don't go if you aren't an artist--for example, if you are just a critic.
This is an event facilitated by artists, for artists. If an artist works for a visual arts organization they are welcome to come as their artist self, but NOT as a representative of their organization. 
Bill Davenport offered some possible discussion topics over on Glasstire (as a critic who is also an artist, I think he would be welcome.)

I'm not going to suggest discussion topics, but I will suggest that a large room full of artists (or anyone) is not likely get much done except make a lot of noise. That's why the House of Representatives has all those committees and sub-committees. So that's what I suggest. Artists, figure out the issues that are important to you (and these may be the ones Davenport suggested), then create volunteer committees to investigate each one. Perhaps the goal can be for each committee to produce a slide presentation for their topic. Then in a subsequent meeting, the committees could present their slide presentations Pecha Kucha style.

As for me, I'll be home watching House of Cards. If any artist wants to talk about the meeting afterwards, please feel free to comment below or send me an email at robertboyd2020@yahoo.com .

An earlier gathering of artists: Front Row: Stanley William Hayter, Leonara Carrington, Frederick Kiesler, Kurt Seligmann. Second Row: Max Ernst, Amedee Ozenfant, Andre Breton, Fernand Leger, Berenice Abbott. Third Row: Jimmy Ernst, Peggy Guggenheim, John Ferren, Marcel Duchamp, Piet Mondrian (1942)


  1. I think your concerns are valid and typical. However, the team assembled by Art League and Fresh Arts were well aware of the potential pitfalls of this event. Going into it with eyes wide open, the artist facilitators dedicated a great deal of time and attention to creating systems for encouraging positive, constructive dialogue. We cannot be sure it will be successful, but a good faith effort was made towards this end. (And on that note, let me express my sincere thanks to the artist facilitators for their investment. If tonight is productive, it will be due to their efforts.)

  2. GAWD! These open sessions are usually such a waste but as you have said, the facilitators are to be commended for their efforts and ernest desire to assist artists for certainly there are so many questions and needs artists of all ages have always had.