Please use this space to comment on the project, to come up with more ideas, or to suggest solutions to these problems. We look forward to hearing from you.

Here’s what we’ve been thinking about and wrote to our subscribers:

It’s the year of politics.  While the election is (thankfully) behind us, the idea of change and representation has pervaded our lives and made us re-examine our own values and priorities.  This project, run by Joseph del Pesco is a bit of a departure from “normal” TPG pieces. “State of the Arts” is part visual art, part political message, and part unconventional exhibition of Bay Area artists.

In a series of conversations, both group and individual, Joseph started a large group of artists and curators off with a set of statistics outlining the current environment for artists and arts funding in California and the US (they’re included in this booklet).  From there, the conversations (one of which makes up this season’s audio accompaniment) go in many directions- identifying problems for working artists, their root causes, and creative ways to harness and generate support our army of artists.

An important aspect of this project is still yet to occur.  The posters will be delivered to the offices of politicians throughout the Bay Area, a process that will be documented through our blog and website.  We hope that in some small way we might impact policy or at least remind politicians of their constituency, a large portion of which is made up of artists.

We’re indebted to Joseph for keenly creating a project that echoes many of the goals of The Present Group: utilizing new models to create positive change and exposing a wider audience to the value or artists and art.  Since the theme of this piece is conversation, we’ve taken a different approach to our critical essay this time round.  Our written back and forth with Joseph gives insight into his ideas behind the project, what we came away from the conversations with, and possibilities for the future life of the project.

As you can see from the posters and statistics, art is a huge part of life in the US.  In times of economic downturn, history shows a boon for the arts and creativity, which then help to bring us out of the economic slouch.  So now more than ever we must act on our belief in the power of art by considering the way we treat, pay, and support artists in our communities.  As subscribers, you are already helping to create a new network of support for artists and for that, we commend and thank you.

Warm regards,

Oliver and Eleanor