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Art vs. Mediocrity

It’s called acceptance…

So, what was the outcome of that well-intentioned, 11th hour meeting of Ravenswood artists? Will they go with the flow and leave Ravenswood with a shrug and a smile? Will ArtWalkRavenswood correct that type-o in their dusty mission statement? It is likely that mediocrity has won this one.

Comfortable for too long, never fully united by the AWR organization, artists will leave Ravenswood one by one and in 20 years we’ll see beautifully mainatined “loft-living” spaces above Dry-Cleaner/Gourmet Coffee Shop/Holy Foods. Parking will be plentiful; property values will be up, up, up!

Artists are adaptable creatures, it is not the end of art. But, Ravenswood corridor is losing out on the potential to build a more vibrant, unique and dynamic community that would benefit a range of residents, artists and manufacturers. Oh well.

2 replies on “It’s called acceptance…”

Things have changed since you wrote this to the extent that the commercial vitality has come to a standstill. Just across the Metra tracks from my studio building a condo was started and then stopped mid-construction with just brick walls and no roof. The 2by4s are starting to warp from exposure to the elements. I’m thinking there will be “openings” for artists in the various commerical buildings that have come to an economic standstill within the year because the landlords will be open to negotiated deals.

That’s true – it could really be an opportunity to develop alternatives that benefit artists and landlords. New Orleans and some other places in Massachusettes and Rhode Island have planned artist communities. In New Orleans, it is a city run program that creates cultural districts – there are rules and requirements too. It would be nice if there were an organization (formerly known as ArtWalkRavenswood, ahem) that could represent and negotiate for artists. The only way to secure anything of permanence is to work together …

It is important for artists to also educate the community about the value of what they do and the fact that they are members of their community. To leave their studios and talk to people. I know that the existence of artists in Ravenswood was news to the Ravenswood Industrial Council. Even the Ravenswood Community Council and Alderman’s Office seemed to have some fixed idea of the artist as a parasite – they wanted us to prove that we “gave back” to the community by working on art programs in local schools rather than (selfishly) creating art. It’s interesting.

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