Sunday, March 6, 2011

NEA + SRAC = Another Dog & Pony Show

NOW, I understand the sudden need for SRAC to host an "IMPROMPTU" show featuring lots of local artists, and a big ol' cash prize!!

They have to make it LOOK LIKE they are really supporting local working artists for the NEA chair....and we artists bought it again - hook, line & sinker.

"On Thursday, NEA Chairman Rocco Landesman will visit Shreveport to discuss how SRAC and the city of Shreveport are demonstrating the NEA's vision — 'Art Works.'" (Source: The Times)

 You can read the mission statement of the NEA/"Art Works" program here:

SRAC's description of it's own mission statement: "The Shreveport Regional Arts Council was founded in 1976, as the "arts arm" for the City of Shreveport with the purpose of developing, nurturing, producing, presenting, promoting, and educating the public about all disciplines of art, while ensuring access to the arts for people who would not ordinarily receive programs and services." (Source: 

Nothing in there about supporting local artists, is there?  They DO occasionally route grant $$ to local artists when they HAVE TO, in order to fulfill the demands of certain grant guidelines.

Yet again, local artists are the dutiful performers in another SRAC dog-and-pony show.

SRAC uses local artists like Kleenex, then throws us away when they're done. 

When they need us to make them look good for grant purposes, they promise us the world -  if ONLY we'll GIVE them a piece of our art. 

When the show du jour is over, they go right back to doing whatever their 30-year-tenured board of directors WANTS to do....whatever it takes to get those grant $$ for their own pet projects - while we artists are shoved back out in the cold to starve until SRAC throws us another measly bone. 

I've quit participating in their shows because they USE trusting, naive artists who keep believing that, 'This time SRAC will change - they will love us, and value our work & our contributions to the community.  We just know things will change THIS TIME.....' Well, duh.

The ONLY reason I committed to show a piece in this exhibit is the UNUSUALLY GENEROUS $2000 prize!

Other arts councils around the country help create thriving, tax-producing, tourist-enticing cultural programs.  Why can't SRAC??  Because they're STUCK in the 1980's, and won't put forth the effort it takes to change their leadership structure & mission in order to grow Shreveport & it's cultural economy!

We artists need to stand up for ourselves!!  The local Chamber is ready & willing to work with us to recognize our work as a vital, important part of the economy.  I just spoke with them about this LAST WEEK!  They want to do what they can to put local art in government buildings, and work with the DDA & SBCTB to promote local, quality cultural events (this DOES NOT include XXXMas in the Sky, btw).

WE ARTISTS need to quit trusting SRAC to work in our best interests....they are MISSION CREEPERS, and will do whatever it takes to get those grant dollars!!  That's the bottom line with them....just read today's Times article about SRAC & notice how many hundreds of thousands of grant $$ they've received throughout the years. What does our community have to show for it? 

You tell me if it looks like Shreveport has invested that much money in its cultural economy.

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