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Is Community a BAD word? Thoughts following the BIG RED FORUM



Panel discussion summary and bios as PDF

What a night. As our former editor-in-chief Matthew Gamber put it: Big Red Forum has now become "Big Red Town Hall." The half hour that was devoted to audience response after the panel discussion could barely contain all of the exchange, opinions, outbursts and energy in the audience. Thank you for being present to begin this very necessary discussion. Keep adding your thoughts to the bottom of this post using the comments box. Respond to each other's comments, respond to us!

Two questions that we'd meant to raise during the panel talk never were for lack of time:
1. how do we encourage communities other than the arts community to become more aware of and interested in contemporary art? Naturally this touches on questions of how to improve public outreach and education, but also on the development of a market and collecting instinct, and on institutional and political support for more visible and challenging public art.
2. what roles do you see for Big Red & Shiny in this ongoing conversation?
We envision BR&S as a bridge between the physical 'silos' that were mentioned, institutions and schools that could be sharing knowledge; using the web and social media, we can have an international presence as much as a local and national one, and we can increase the frequency and depth of critical discourse around local artists and issues as well as situate these questions within a global framework.

Admittedly a vast topic Boston has an arts community, but how do we engage other communities? was explored by a panel with a broad range of skill sets and types of involvement in the arts, from educational to housing to project facilitation to institutional. It planted the seed for a much needed exploration of the intricacies and complexities that make up an art ecosystem.

The podcast above will replay the entire panel talk including all of the lively and contentious discussion that ensued during the Q&A session. At that time, some precise resources for artists were mentioned including:
Artists in Context, which panelist Louisa McCall co-founded and co-directs with Marie Cieri, is "a flexible organizational framework designed to assemble artists and other creative thinkers across disciplines to conceptualize new ways of representing and acting upon the critical issues of our time."
Artists curious to develop community-engaged projects should hook up with this group and attend their events.
Artists Under the Dome Kathy Bitteti entreated all present to use their vote to change the relationship between art and politics in Boston. City officials will be up for election in 2013. Get involved!
ArtMorpheus, "an artist-driven not-for-profit that fosters conditions in which people in the arts can thrive, impact their communities and stimulate the creative economy."
Transcultural Exchange, "a non-profit organization dedicated to promoting international art and the understanding of world cultures, through high quality art exhibitions, cultural exchanges and educational programs at their home base in Boston and throughout the world."
Artist Link, a collaborative effort "to create a stable environment for Massachusetts artists as they seek workspace and housing" that panelist Richard Graf advises.

Big Red & Shiny wants be counted among these resources (and we were flattered to be acknowledged by the audience as a missing piece of the puzzle). Let's be this hub for the exchange of ideas, criticism and discussion on and off screen. Subscribe, donate, show up, list your shows, talk with us and about us, share this publication with your non-artist friends. As one person present said last night: "we're all here, let's make something together."

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