Sunday, July 11, 2010

Come on down!

I attended the awards ceremony for the Canton Luminaries Photography Competition at the Saxton Gallery on Friday night. As each winning entry was projected on the wall, only a handful were ones I had picked out during the voting process, which goes to prove that we all have different tastes and that I don’t know what goes into the making of a good photo. I only know if I like it or not. An extensive list of what to look for had been provided at the initial public voting event, but I am not one to follow directions if there are too many (hence my lack of creative cooking). I considered entering the contest until I read the long list of requirements as to how to enlarge, mat and present the images for jury. Again, that was a pretty long and complicated list if one is not a photographer by trade. The option to have the gallery handle that aspect was offered for a fee, but my Scottish heritage would not allow me to part with the money. After all, I am probably one of the few in town with a frequent shopper card from the Goodwill store.

So my point is, I am not comfortable writing about things I don’t really understand all that well. This is an opinion blog, not a paid reviewer situation. What I can talk about is the next phase of what is happening in the Arts District (note the capitalization so I can refer to it as the AD from here on out….). Maybe it is not really a phase, but an extension of what happens when people are willing to think outside the box. Case in point, 2nd April’s latest incarnation as an event location. Now that I sit right in the middle of the sandbox so to speak, I see and hear quite a bit more than I used to. Besides a lot of painting material (the cone of silence has yet to be activated), I can toss my 2 cents out the door from my spot on the floor. In case you have not seen me, I paint sitting on the floor due to a previous and long standing (no pun intended) back injury.

For four nights in a row, the main floor space was used for private events, a book signing, an anniversary party and a theater reception. Much to the angst of the owners regarding the safety of the surrounding artwork, everything turned out just fine. What a great idea to use available space for things normally held in less vibrant surroundings. On the flip side, a portion of Joseph Close’s show was recently temporarily relocated to be part of another one night event. Kinda cool that the art goes where the action is and visa versa. So what to do with this idea? Box it up and package it as a business option because otherwise the venues become in danger of being used by “friends” who ask “favors”, a rolling snowball that can get out of hand far too fast.

Because of our creativity and often accommodating nature, artists are highly susceptible to the “could you please donate, give, loan, make or otherwise do something for nothing” crowd (think of the “exposure!”). Would you ask a plumber to come do a job for nothing? How about getting one’s grass cut by the neighbor kid, even he gets paid for his special services. So my point is that the vibration has begun. Now the locations need to figure out what to charge, to whom, when and for what services. Businesses should get together and develop comprehensive packages with different options for each location that ultimately don’t compete with each other. Caterers, chair rentals, decorators, bakeries, bartenders and so forth can join forces with the arts to double dip our AD. Private parties at Anderson, Saxton, and 2nd A could become the next wave of things to do. With that, the spaces need to figure liability, contracts for clean up and all those “what if” scenarios that need to be played out so the surroundings and installations are protected as well. As I have said before, I can Captain Picard really well, but somebody else has to “make it so”. On that note of upcoming parties….

Put on your calendars the House Party at 2nd April Galerie(324 Cleveland Ave NW) to be held August 20th to celebrate the reconfiguration of their space. Hopefully we will begin to PAD the downtown even more and PAD our pockets with some sales as a result of all the exposure…..(btw, PAD stands for Party in the Arts District). Give me time and this whole blog thing may be reduced to text -like type…though I have never texted in my life. Come to think of it, I have never taken a photo with a phone or typed on a phone or surfed on a phone…..I thought they were for “phone calls”. Goodness how ancient of me!

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