Thursday, April 16, 2009

Oxygenate your anchor institutions! Make the lions roar!

The instigator Robert Elmes over at Galapagos sent me this provocative audio file of New York Public Library "oxygenator" Paul Holdengraber. He is "making the [NYPL] lions roar with live conversations. And if you haven't peeked at what your library is doing: check it out! They offer all sorts of real classes (Resume building, Power Point class, Excel, Welcome to Google Docs! etc). And all for free (= also sustainable, green, etc!)

Part Two is by LA's Music Center of LA, Josephine Ramirez. I was a bit bored at first by her presentation but then she got into the "pro artist vs. hobby artist" issue which is crucial. Near the end of the mp3 she says (and I paraphrase!) "..that's the old model: make some art with us and then buy our tickets. It's all about getting someone to buy a ticket. We need to flip it over: make some art with us because making art is awesome and necessary and valid."

Ideas/words that struck me:
a) unexpected encounters
b) what if a city's anchor institutions (Library, Symphony, Museum, etc) aligned their goals and strategies to build/re-build a vibrant city
c) not a moderator but an instigator
d) high-level criticism is vital; no chumminess; gotta have edge
e) build your social captial
f) valid all art-making; separate ticket buying from artistic and social engagement

I know we may not feel like we have time to have these conversations, mull over big questions - but we don't have time not to!

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