Transforming our Community 2006: Arts and Culture

Submitted by Sudhir Kade on Wed, 01/04/2006 - 11:35.

I thought I'd post a few personal focus areas regarding 2006 and change efforts for the region.  We have so much to do, in so many areas.  In the spirit of the holistic view of sustainabilty and quality of life - I post my wish list for 2006 using our six-sphere framework:  these are broad outcomes, but i believe we can define specific action plans as discussion, dialogue, and inquiry continue.  Change, after all, begins the moment we ask the question!


Desired Outcomes toward a Better Quality of Life (2006)

Article One:   Arts and Culture


   As I kick off this series on my 34th birthday I dream of a future filled with arts. I would like to see a vibrant arts scene become heralded and celebrated throughout the region.  We need to support our local artists by connecting them to the  galleries  which can best promote  their work and create 'virtual galleries' online which allow for the effective display of artwork through an alternative medium (the internet).  RealNEO offers just the platform to help facilitate this process.  This would enable art students and other resource-needy artists to expose their work and life to all of NEO, the nation, and the world at large.  Working with RealNEO, wel will also raise awareness to the rest of NEO as to the interesting and exciting cultural events happening in the region and provide important details and report back on many of these to benefit those who couldn't be there.  This way members of the community still learn and gain appreciation for the things happening around them.

  The link between arts and culture and sustainability / quality of life is clear and definite.  A better quality of life speaks to having interesting and inspiring places to go where the expressions of artistic genius can be appreciated, human dialogue and interaction can be facilitated, and economic impacts result.  The arts appeal to and invigorate the senses - we celebrate the resulting auditory, visual, or tactile influences they have on us. We need to retain great artistic talent and woo new talent to our region by showing the world we love and appreciate art.

 Suporting local art economies is important as well - this is tied to educational reform that inspires the artist -entrepreneur to start their own gallery if they can't find one that supports them.  Citizens should learn how to appreciate and interpret art if they don't know how.  Should these foundational things happen - we won't be too far off from the day when the typical NEO resident has beautiful local artwork decorating their apartments and homes, inherently celebrating a vibrant local arts community.

So much in life is about incentives - and these are needed in the arts world like any other to provide necessary first-time exposure to those who previously lacked it.  Preconceived notions and prejudices can fall away quickly when this exposure is facilitated.  In the past I've proposed a RealNEO Culture Card - one the cardholder is proud to own and use - offering significant economic incentive to particpate in cultural events.  A mere swipe of this tech-friendly unit would provide 2-for-1 admissions or significant price reductions across artistic genres - encouraging a music fan to give visual arts a try, visual arts fans to appreciate natural history, and so on.  This is just one idea that I think could have significant impact in terms of economic development and quality of life in the short run.  Let's hear, design and implement more of these action-oriented plans!  Post your thoughts and ideas in our Arts and Culture forum- you can get to it by clicking here.

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An Interactive Arts Center

Building on Sudhir's momentum, which I really enjoy by the way and Happy Birthday to Sudhir, I wanted to put in my two cents about the arts.

I was given life by two Russian-Jewish immigrants from Moscow - a city deep and rich in the culture and arts of not only Russia, but most of Europe (the bourgeoise of Russia spoke French and had a high regard for French culture). I grew up surrounded by art in the home as well as frequent visits to the St. Louis symphony. At age nine, I started taking private violin lessons and play to this day. In high school, I had the opportunity to travel to France for a study-abroad and visited many of its acclaimed museums in Paris as well as its many chateaus and famous churches in the provinces.

My point is not to elaborate on my history with the arts, but to articulate my passion and yearning for more and more right here in NEO. Being a violinist, and generally one who likes to create new things, I always try to create something innovative, vibrant and expansive at every point in my life. So then this . . . .

What if NEO had an interactive arts center? Not just a museum to browse the work of artists; not just a gallery to buy the art. A full center where people come together to create art, browse art, buy art. A member of the NEO community walks in and is presented with a menu of art supplies they can purchase to create a pre-established project - that member (or group) is then attended to by an artistic director (perhaps a CIA student or any art student or any artist in general) who will guide the member through the process of creation. The person then goes home with a piece of art they created - which can be put on a shelf in the home or given as a gift to a loved one. For NEO, by NEOers.

What do people love more than creation? That is, when they're not glued to their TV sets and listening to their iPods? (I have nothing against either, just commenting).  

Arts Incubator and Commune combined

I agree with this concept, which I now see in several formats. In one way, this is useful for artists to have access to facilities that are otherwise too costly for one - film production suite, etc. The other, which you bring up here and is quite unique, is bringing art to the masses, in participation. I always pictured an interactive arts center more like an incubator, where the artists would be on cost-effective exhibit and sell their wares. Your perspective pictures something more like a cooperative, where families could go and create art. In that sense, it would offer an alternative to things like Build a Bear Workshops, where gaggles of kids go to participate very little in creating a very expensive trinket. That that is so profitable, it is clear there is money in the marketplace for a good alternative, especially if it had the dual purpose of benefiting artists. Worth developing further.

Great comments, Mike


Thanks so much for your comments - I second Norm's approval of your idea of a truly integrative and interactive arts center.  Creation of any kind - creation of value in the form of new ideas, art, or poetry (to name a few) is a beautiful thing.  It comes from the power of the mind, and some would argue, beyond the mind from a deeper source of intelligence and inspiration.  A center that cultivates talent and provides the support network every new Creator needs would be a fantastic thing.