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Earlier today, Nick Fish and the Portland City Council unveiled its preliminary working report on what the city could do to preserve and expand, “Affordable Arts Space in Portland,” you can read it here. First of all, we’ve been calling for many of these things for more than a decade here, here, here and here. The thing is the art community now has city hall’s attention as Portland’s identity as an cultural tourist destination is at risk. So yes, a clearinghouse of spaces and incentives is crucial. Im glad the cultural liason position is coming back I made use of it when we did the Donald Judd conference. The thing is the “corner” that Portland needs to turn isnt just about affordability. Technically, Portland cant roll itself back to the dirt cheap days. Instead, it needs to reframe this discussion not as a return to affordability but as a more pro-active and assertive use of its support resources for cultural use. That means getting the resources (money, spaces, prestige awards and networking) into the right hands. Portland is frankly terrible at being serious about support even when its clearly a big deal (see “Portland Polite” and “humble brag” not recognition of achievement). Instead, there is an infantilism around the discussion of cultural support. In fact, there is a kid’s photo as the first image on the report. Culture creates serious careers, roles and spaces. Also, of all the stake holders listed there is no active working artist advisory group and most in the visual arts scene dont know anything about this. Frankly, that’s like forming an action plan for getting resources to doctors without asking doctors what they need. Yes, other cities have done similar things, Portland has some unique challenges and it will take local know how to make it effective. Still this is great news and I have been repairing a topical and very long think piece I hope to get published here soon. This new arts plan is is a needed step in the right direction but it needs to be reframed from “Affordability” to a one of distributing effective support for the brightest lights… because those are the people Portland needs to keep. Just supporting quirkyness isn’t enough when resources get scarce and ever more crucial. Currently many outdated practices form barriers that have no place in 2018. February 15th will be the next time the Council meets on this and I’ll have an article that goes far beyond the City Council’s scope… though it is a crucial pies of the benign neglect policy the city has pursued until now.

The Met is now Charging admission, especially for those who are visiting NYC and the critics at the New York times hate it. It smacks of elitist class warfare and puts the museum in the crosshairs of the massive income inequality issue. Not good, all major museums are trying to negotiate this issue and the Met just wiped out on this wave.

On the same topic, Hyperallergic interviews the Met’s Director who tries very hard to do damage control… but it reminds me of some uncle caught in a nerf battle between 10 kids on Christmas morning.