December 19, 2006
The closings of two popular downtown galleries in the past six weeks have caught the attentions of many in the local art community. Artist and Lawrence Arts Commissioner Dave Loewenstein invited members of the community to his studio for an informal meeting last week, to discuss ways to groom the character and increase the national visibility of the Lawrence arts scene, thereby uniting the arts community, increasing sales for local artists and fortifying the local economy.
Over two dozen people attended the two-hour meeting; representatives the Lawrence Arts Center, The Spencer Museum of Art, The Lawrence Art Guild, Art Walk, the KU Art Department and the Lawrence Arts Commission; the Olive, Phoenix and Signs of Life galleries; and local artists and artist advocates, writers and musicians. Street Level dons a jaunty beret and saunters east to get the 411 on the state of the Art in the City of the Arts.
Roadkill_Rob 16 years, 5 months ago
It makes sense to me that if you want to sell art in a consistent downtown venu, you need to co-op w/ another business such as a coffee shop and HEAVILY advertise it as a ART/COFFEE SHOP, not just one or the other.
Another thing that might work for a full-time gallery is to renovate an old East Lawrence building/house and have the owner live and operate a gallery at the same time.
Lastly, I would love to see a defining annual Lawrence festival that develops a solid national reputation. There are all kinds of festivals here but not one that has developed a national reputation or even a reputation throughout the midwest. In my perfect world, that festival would include all arts including a film festival and some live music.
funkdog1 16 years, 5 months ago
ChrisC 16 years, 5 months ago
You mean the Wakarusa "Music" and "Camping" Festival? A non-collective, solely-for-profit weekend dripping with "wandering souls" and "free spirits"?? How about that divided (yet not maliciously competitve) community of artists, activists, environmentalists, etc. uniting like the artists in Taos, Santa Fe, etc. in that festival setting? That would certainly help sustain that "creative surge" that we see has never completely waned for decades, right? But as I sit here in Miami, FL, post-Art Basel, and pre-Beaux-Arts Fest (a couple weeks away) I can't help but 'look homeward' and see no greenbacked angels carrying our art (ranging from the stagnantly provincial to the studiously avant-garde) INTO a legitimate, and unsaturated market,like Leslie was saying. True, the essence of creative output will never die here, but the symphony of expression falls on deaf wallets (or broke ears) more often than not, and it will take an artist (or artists) acheiving a large measure of success in alternate markets, with adequate, even excessive financial support (Miami, L.A., Chicago, New York...oh yeah, and Kansas City) while STAYING HERE to draw the attention of those markets back to Lawrence. Oh, and once I removed the dollar signs from my eyes, I was so free, until I got my electric bill and had to eat the rest of my paints and canvas to stave off starvation...:-)
Roadkill_Rob 16 years, 5 months ago
Wakarusa Festival? No, that festival doesn't have a solid reputation anymore thanks to Kansas cops...I think it could recover if things are done differently, though.
But no, I'd rather have something that Lawrence residents/artists can be part of and that can have equal exposure of all arts (including films and music). I would also like to see downtown incorporated...only west Lawrence benefits from Wakarusa.
J_Phoenix 16 years, 5 months ago
I tend to believe that successful movements are generally like plants...they start from a little seed that's easy to miss, begin underground, start at the bottom and rise up from there, blindly reaching towards the light.
That's what I'd like to see in Lawrence, personally.
Chris Tackett 16 years, 5 months ago
"I tend to believe that successful movements are generally like plants...they start from a little seed that's easy to miss, begin underground, start at the bottom and rise up from there, blindly reaching towards the light."
Well put, J_Phoenix.
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