Saturday, September 13, 2008

Obama vs. McCain: Arts policy

What just came through my email inbox? Why, it's Barack Obama's Arts Policy. Just skim the headlines - funding for the arts and arts education, cultural diplomacy, this Artist Corps sounds fun... even... WHAT? HEALTH CARE for artists. Wow. WOW. I think I'm hooked. Reading through this is like eating candy, like reading a wish list of mine. Even if most of these things don't happen in real life, I can't believe we've actually got a guy running for President that's actually thinking this way. Artists are so used to working late into the night for little to no recognition that this nod our way seems way too good to be true.

However, in the interest of fairness - and I don't mean this sarcastically. I work for a newspaper now and am increasingly aware of the importance of fairness - I thought I ought to look up John McCain's arts policy.

From what I can find on the internet, he doesn't have one. I'm not the first blogger to bring this up, either. A google search on "McCain's arts policy" brings up several posts about this very topic. Artocracy has actually tried contacting McCain's campaign to figure out his policy and gotten no response.

Elizabeth Currid of Election 2008 writes, "McCain doesn’t have an arts policy, other than a desire to eliminate spending directed toward the arts."

Her entire article is worth reading, as it outlines what cuts have been made to arts funding in the last 15 years and provides statistics that are hard to argue with about how the arts makes up a good percent of the workforce.

I have to say that this is very smart marketing on Senator Obama's part. Senator McCain must not realize how many of us there are who, while are also concerned about the economy and safety of our country, really struggle every day with this stuff.

I'm open to rebuttals -- has anybody out there seen otherwise on this issue?

Thursday, September 11, 2008

Okay, maybe I get it now.

I just may have figured out why so many people around here paint pictures of Lake George.


Some background, if you're not from around here: When you're checking out the local art scene, it's kind of a "blah blah blah Lake George" thing. EVERYONE does paintings of Lake George, and it's a serious snooze. Sure, it's pretty, but it's decorative. My idea of good art isn't decorative. Blecch.

My idea of good art is that it means something. It pushes envelopes. It's personal, it's emotional, it's important, it invokes a reaction and conveys something real and human. It makes people angry, or sad, or joyful, and number one, it's original - it's not just blahhhh, ANOTHER painting of a lake - how very exciting for you. There's so much "pretty" art out there, and I really have no desire to clutter up the world with more of it. How many times can people paint the same thing before the painting police put a stop to this!?

Honestly, I realize that people want to have something pretty in their homes, but gosh, it's so boring. Admittedly, I've done a landscape or three, done my small share of florals, succumbing to the sad fact that nobody really wants to buy my angsty life on paper.

However, I had the opportunity last week to go out on Lake George for the first time, for an Editorial meeting in my boss Mark Frost's boat. And I think I get it.

When you're actually there, soaking up Lake George, you want more than anything to paint it, to take that feeling of exhilaration and relaxation and capture it so you can share it with everyone else. When people buy paintings of Lake George, they can point out the islands - Lake George vacationers and natives know the names of them, and have good memories associated with them. It is a personal thing. I took lots of pictures...


I even liked it so much that I went back to the Lake with my boyfriend Cory. We hiked in, laid out a picnic, jumped in the water and laid in the sun. I took pictures of that, too. Watch out - you just might see some Lake George paintings from me yet!


... I'm not gonna pretend they're anything original, though.