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Prescription for a Healthy Art Scene


In the months leading up to Big Red & Shiny's relaunch, the editorial team spent a lot of time developing our mission statement. Our ideas for it were many and varied, but our discussions often led back to the same question: What role could BR&S occupy within our community? That is, what was lacking, what could we adequately provide, and most importantly, what was needed?

During these few months rumbling frustrations within our community became apparent—frustrations that had long been growing, frustrations that aren't any less common in other cities, frustrations that largely haven't gone away--and we used these to better define what our organization could tackle. One of the goals we set was to continue this dialogue; to brainstorm, write about, and get feedback on ways to create principles that might help define and sustain our community or recognize those who were already involved in the process. Now six months into our relaunch we’ve realized just how diverse, complicated, interconnected, and interdependent that constellation of conditions is.

Recently I re-blogged on our Tumblr page a post that was in heavy circulation. It is of a document that was authored by Renny Pritikin, a San Francisco Bay Area curator with a long and varied list of experience and accolades. The document, lovingly referred to as the "Prescription for a Healthy Art Scene," outlines just that: aspects which Mr. Pritikin feels contribute to the overall well-being of an art community.

Though the "grass is always greener" mentality isn't specific to Boston, the struggles of small cultural institutions, galleries, and non-profits and the associated decline of artist opportunities in the past few years has sprouted that all-too-familiar mindset. In looking at this list it became even more clear to us how expansive and mutually dependent those characteristics are and we too felt compelled to identify which are lacking. Instead, we noticed how many of these we actually have in Boston and began to see this list as an opportunity for us to create the dialogue that we feel has been missing lately.

What we want to know and encourage you to comment on: What would you add to this list as a facet for a healthy art scene?, Which of these are you involved in?, and finally, if you aren't yet involved in any, In which part(s) of this outlined ecosystem do you wish to become involved or help to create?


About Author

Brian is an artist, educator and Boston-native and is the Managing Editor of BR&S, coordinating the editorial activities of the publication. He has a BFA from Tulane University in New Orleans and his MFA in Sculpture from MassArt. Brian is also an Assistant Lecturer and the Instructional Media Specialist for the Sculpture and Digital Media disciplines at the University of Massachusetts Boston.

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