Lloyd Metcalf Inc.

Friday, July 15, 2011

Artist space in Portland, Why am I PISSED?

This is all in response to an article posted here by the Maine arts comission. It's one of those facade sort of situations that lets Portland bill itself as an "Arts friendly city" and it is driving me nuts.
At the risk of sounding off and being "Ranty" I can hardly contain my contempt for this set up.

Efficiency apartments for artists that are available ONLY by application and review. This is not being labeled properly. This is Cheap housing for Elitist MECA students only. I am sure the project is being pushed by MECA. I honestly hope they are not intending on using money from the good people of portland to subsidize this double dipping BS scheme.

What about artists with families, kids, who are already paying rent reliably and have a place to live but are trying to work in their living space? What about artists getting muscled out of the gallery scene on first fridays because of lack of room at galleries? What about artists who ARE NOT ATTENDING MECA?
Why is this an option, but not artist WORKING space that opens up on first fridays and has a place for artists to show and move their work? The old mills in Biddeford are already doing this, and the result has been great.

When you rent a working space for X dollars, you could also be paying for X feet of space in the open gallery...
Efficiency apartment? Portland already has low income housing... labeling it "For artists... by application only" Makes it low income housing only for MECCA students. MECA has plenty of money... buy your own damn dorms!!!
This in no way is conducive to new fresh art entering our city. This doesn't "add to the arts" in Portland.
Cheap working space would attract serious artists from Portland and the outskirting areas who have the dedication, drive and motivation to produce art. It would give these people a place to be seen and noticed on the First Friday Circle. Which as of right now is dominated by unaffordable and unrealistic galleries.

(I love my gallery owner friends out there...more or less) But what working artist with a family can afford 40-60%, and a month of sitting in the gallery being a retail agent???

This whole thing leaves me steaming and disgruntled.

When I start seeing some real income, it is on my bucket list to buy such a building in Portland, or some other city and watch REAL artists turn the frikkin world on its EAR!

My response to the article (that will probably be erased) is posted below.... and I tried to temper it.
The efficiency apartments for artists thing seems like a good idea on the surface and I am sure makes folks feel good if it is pitched to them properly.

A better resource (IMHO) would be artist WORKING spaces on the cheap in a warehouse or building somewhere that could open up on first fridays.
Not living space, working space for artists with a resource to show work and move art.
There are MANY artists on the outskirts, and intown Portland who have Families, kids, Rents and what not. But need a dedicated space to produce and move their art.
This building might be great for a young, single artist with no family who is struggling to hold a job.
Lets just call it what it is..... Elitist space reserved solely for MECCA students.
Go ahead, beat me up over this comment...I'm just looking at a transparent situation and reading the text behind it.