Last Friday the City Club hosted Tom Manley with Brad Cloepfil and Sohrab Vossoughi
of Ziba Design
Portland's "Creative Grid". Basically it was about networking Portland's
creative institutions, firms and individuals. You
can listen to it here
. Overall this is an important shift in Portland's
strategic future as the city is networking the hell out of itself in a way that
lets creative types get in on the ground floor.
I liked several things about this rather 19th century style public forum at
the City Club. First the word "excellence" was used frequently (if
only both of our Mayoral candidates did the same, whoever gets the job needs
to take their cues from these 3 Portlanders and a few others...). Second, Brad
Cloepfil made a great point about being honest about our goals and instead of
trying to do it all (like some arts institutions attempt) we need to focus on
what we can do that is truly excellent. Finally, the best bit was when Cloepfil
responded to a the question about money and funding (a red herring) by stating
that Portland needs to "Get Over It" and should focus on doing things
at a high level instead (I suspect that will bring more money in 5-10 years). The trick is to not get self satified or think that spending lots of money leads to excellence.
I've been saying the same
for years, the actual amount of money matters less than how it is
used. We simply need to ask better questions like my favorite gripe, "are
the projects and institutions we are funding raising the level or of discussion,
ideas and execution rather than simply existing to create communities of mediocrity.
Communities are good but they matter most when they challenge themselves to
be better rather than self-congratulatory.
Smith looked at a show of artistic mash-ups
. Sounds like people are looking
for something new and trying to see what happens when 2 artists are artificially
put together. Of course when its not artificial as in Jasper
Johns and Robert Rauschenberg
(rivals, lovers etc.) that's when art gets
radicalized in exciting ways. I don't think those days are gone.
Last but not least Art Blogging LA has unleashed its redesigned
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