Fart in the park
Ten years ago, the quality of the artwork found at Boise Art in the Park was among the best of Northwest outdoor art shows. It has gradually deteriorated to the point it is at now, with the worst overall art quality among large Northwest shows. There were still a few top-shelf artists at this year's show, but they have become an endangered species at Art in the Park.
The show quality has become a race to the bottom driven, by the greed of its organizers. Increasing the number of vendors and lowering jury standards to accept cheap production items over the years may have improved revenues for the BAM, but it has driven away most of the top artists who once came to this show. One artist described this year's show as "Wal-Mart in the Park."
Friends of the Boise Art Museum must consider that there is a cost to Boise of the cheapening of the Art in the Park that they don't consider in their bottom line. Boiseans have been deprived of the opportunity to see the top-quality fine art that this show once attracted.
Show organizers probably reason that the end justifies the means. Worthwhile projects such as bringing the Georgia O' Keeffe exhibit to Boise are expensive and may require compromising standards of artistic integrity to maximize income from Art in the Park. In promoting the work of O'Keeffe and other important artists in the 1920s, Alfred Stieglitz always struggled financially. I doubt that he considered selling beanie lizards and other knickknacks from foreign sweatshops to keep open the doors of his New York gallery. Both Stieglitz and O'Keeffe would be dismayed at how BAM has trashed its art show in the name of raising money "to champion excellence in the visual arts."
How can the BAM raise the money it wants while restoring lost integrity to Art in the Park? It might consider allowing only real art into the show and cutting by half the number of artists. (This might require BAM to live within a tighter budget, but with more integrity and peace of mind.) Another possible solution would be to have a fine art section on one side of the park and a craft section on the other side. The fine art section would allow only original art created by the hands of the artist. BAM could continue to allow production items, including those from overseas factories, in the craft section of the show--along with the popcorn vendors and jugglers.
I'm disappointed. Why didn't you publish a schedule for Art in the Park? It would have been nice to have known what musical groups were performing when. You're slipping, Boise Weekly.
Editor's Note: I'm glad you noticed that we didn't have information about Art in the Park but your anger shouldn't be directed at us. Oftentimes, because of exclusivity agreements between organizations and the Idaho Statesman, and the Statesman's sponsorship policies, no other media in the region is allowed to publish information about certain events.
BW does not, nor has it ever, had an exclusivity policy related to sponsorships. However, the corporate media guys believe that elbowing out local independent media best serves their own interest. Please write a letter to the editor of the Idaho Statesman, as well as the organizations who agree to put all their eggs in one media basket, so to speak. In this case, send a letter to the Boise Art Museum board of directors with your complaint.
When you see that BW is not involved in events such as Art in the Park, Alive After Five, Thursday Thunder or other citywide events, you can be sure the reason is probably exclusive sponsorship arrangements with the Statesman. It's also the reason you won't find our paper at most events and concerts hosted at the Idaho Center Amphitheater in Nampa.
Next time you look at the sponsor logos of an event, be sure to note who is involved. When you see our logo, it means we have chosen to support this event as a gem of our community. You can also be sure that we make no requirements of the event organizers to exclude anyone. We frown on that behavior. It is anti-competitive, unfair and evil. If you disagree with such policies, make your voice heard by telling those who engage in such exclusive arrangements what you think.
This weekend, come visit our geodesic dome at the Hyde Park Street Fair. We're a sponsor of that event--one of many sponsors. And that's good.
Coverage ... good
Congratulations to Boise Weekly for running the powerful review by Jill Kuraitis of media coverage of Hurricane Katrina (BW, Screen, "Broadcasting The Disconnect," September 7, 2005). Jill tells it like no other writer (except perhaps Ted Rall), beginning with her grand opening sentence that "Relentless TV exposure of government bullshit in the face of human suffering magnifies the gulf between the people and the Bush administration." Right on, Jill! This was a national-quality article that deserves wide attention. Keep up the good work Jill, and keep on publishing Jill's stuff, Boise Weekly.
Editor's Note: Mainstream media is missing a lot of the stories coming out of New Orleans. Our sister paper in the Big Easy, Gambit Weekly, has shut down, but their editor is continuing coverage of the disaster from a perspective of a refugee. See our news story about him on page 9, or go online at www.boiseweekly.com to read his coverage of the disaster and aftermath. Look for the "Katrinia News" section of our site.