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The Art Bridge in the Real World

October 2, 2012

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The really difficult thing about trying to organize the Art Bridge effort is to actually get the artists it is trying to promote to participate in the effort. When they are approached, the common attitude is that Town has never payed any attention to them and it never will. Why bother? They have more important things to do, like doing work for people who do appreciate their work. Even the non-artists who love art have the same attitude, the town government, and even town businesses, have no concerns about art, why bother?

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About the only half-way concrete suggestion that Art Bridge has come up with is to set up some sort of mechanism in the town government where, when any project requires artistic talent, the project officials will make sure to contact any local talent known to town, as well as circulating any general advertizements and inquiries.

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I have absolutely no intention of dealing with age old art issues such as what is fine art, what is commercial art, what is children’s art, what is legit art, or good art and what isn’t. Some of what we now regard as “fine art” was once art commissions for municipalities, rich business men and such people as the Pope, all for money, or, commercial art. Those are questions for other forums. I prefer to limit the discussion to what I generally call “professional art.” A professional artist is when someone relies, and has pretty much always has relied, on their art to make a living, and (one additional condition) they HAVE to do their art, they must do art, above all else. This professional would never be happy as a doctor, lawyer or Indian Chief. That is what I call a professional artist, be they basket weavers or bronze casters.

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So, when a project in Los Gatos needs a professional artist, a mechanism would be in place so that town staff or town contractors would contact local professional artists to give them an opportunity to bid on any such projects rather than rely on random ads and announcements in specialized media outlets. Why not have this mechanism be another volunteer type commission that wouldn’t cost the town anything, only it would be comprised of primarily local artists and people with knowledge and interest in local professional art activity and not disconnected bureaucrats and business people.

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We are not politicians or bureaucrats and thus we are calling for Art Bridge II, to discuss ways and means to establish a favorable interchange between town government and the art professionals who have been living and working in the community these government officials are supposed to be servicing and supporting.

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So often, these officials are hired simply for their professional qualifications with no consideration regarding their interest or commitment to the community they are working for. If they see no immediate “value” to an idea, they simply dismiss it as frivolous or whatever other bureaucratic excuse that comes into their heads. Serving community pride and passions can be easily overlooked by such people who don’t live in the community and/or have no history with it. For this reason, we have made a point to invite town officials, elected and not elected, to attend Art Bridge II.

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Perhaps we can foster a new era of cooperation and mutual respect between these local professional artists and the local professional government.

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