Thursday, April 08, 2004

Artists can be testy. You know how we are.

So I am the secretary of the arts council in my small town. I've been on the board for about six months now. I first saw the opportunity as a chance to get involved. I wanted to meet fellow citizens who love the arts and want to share that love with others. I certainly have done that. But I think I really didn't know what I was in for.

First, it seems to me that most members of our board have off motives. Meaning, they want our council to primarily benefit their own interests. And of course, this is human. But I feel it even stronger here. So much for opening eyes and ears. Instead it's, "I want to promote my gallery." "I want to create a larger audience for my orchestra." "I want people to buy my stuff."

I AM just the secretary. But I have some ideas too. Things I think would really benefit our community. I'd like to ask these board members for their opinions. But I dare not. They are not interested in anything new, it seems. They just want maintenance. "We'll just do it like we did last year." What about improvements?

Here's then next thing: these board members obviously have very different tastes. I suppose this is what you want. But these people seem to totally discount what they don't like. I can imagine their brains thinking, "Why would we support that? It's not even art." They would never say this out loud. Instead they each push only what they like. So the pushier people often win and we end up showcasing the same type of music, etc. over and over. Could we have some variety?

At our meeting last night, our president was explaining her duties to a few new members. She said, "A big part of my job is to keep us on task in our meetings. Sometimes we don't agree and get off track. Artists can be testy. You know how we are."


That little word bugged me. Bugs me. Is it okay to call yourself an artist? I guess if your job really is involved in the arts. If you teach art, of one form or another. You should have the right, right? Still, it bothers me to no end when someone says, (with a sweeping arm and hand motion) "I'm an artist." Let ME call you an artist. Let someone else call you an artist. Call yourself a writer, a painter, a sculptor a dancer, a singer, a film maker. "We're artists," doesn't really work for me.

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