State of the Visual Arts Symposium III

February 25, 2011 § Leave a comment

The members of the Saranac Art Projects are pleased to host another symposium dedicated to assessing the current state of affairs in the Spokane art scene. The First State of the Visual Arts Symposium created an open forum for discussing the things that are happening in our community and stimulate dialogue about what the future might hold. Our second symposium was a follow up meeting dedicated to talking about “Venues” – spaces dedicated to creating and exhibiting art in our region. For the third symposium we have decided to host a conversation about “Critical Dialogue”.

Spokane is a large metropolitan center containing many important cultural institutions and a large arts community. Artists, curators, and patrons are a bit geographically isolated… but we have the entire region pretty much to ourselves and there are a lot of interesting people creating and thinking about art in the Inland Northwest. Our traditional and emerging media outlets do what they can to promote visual art events and exhibits, and digital social networking strategies have greatly improved our ability to get the word out about what is going on. We have educational institutions doing great work to bring in artists and thinkers from outside the region to challenge and expand our awareness of the larger art world. We have a lot of good stuff going for us.

However – in spite of all these advantages – there is virtually no critical dialogue about the visual art that is displayed in our city. No reviews of exhibits. No commentary about what is interesting or boring. No passionate debates about what makes art good or bad. No arguments about what art is supposed to do in the world. No way for the artists of the region to learn how to get better by having their work judged and their ideas challenged.

If this is all true then what does Spokane need to do to cultivate more critical dialogue? Do we really need it – or want it? What are some possible delivery methods for this kind of dialogue? Print media? Blogs? Critique groups? Will this kind of thing really help our artists make better work – or should we just concentrate on cheerleading for the arts in a region that is at best indifferent?

Our featured panelists will be asked to comment about the current state of our “Critical Dialogue” as well as what might could be done to improve it in the future. The meeting will have ample time reserved for discussion and audience participation will be encouraged.

Panel Participants:

Luke Baumgarten – Arts and Culture Editor and Writer for The Pacific Northwest Inlander

Scott Kolbo – Artist and Professor – Panel Moderator

Carrie Scozzaro – Artist, Art Teacher, and Freelance Art Writer

Bernadette Vielbig – Artist, Instructor of Art, KYRS program host for Readymade Radio


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