Articulating Value in the Arts is a project which hopes to seed new opportunities for a diverse arts community, through a sustained consideration of the relationship between art and value. We started in 2016 with small conversations among a core group of four facilitators. We then held a large gathering of around 30 people at the Carrack Modern Art in January, 2017 in Durham, NC and later facilitated four gatherings across central North Carolina. There was one in Durham at The Shed, one at Anchorlight in Raleigh, one at the Nightlight in Chapel Hill, and a fourth at The Culture Mill Lab in Saxapahaw. 

We’ve done things this way in order to gradually grow this project out of the kinds of casual, personal conversations after concerts, gallery openings, performances or during rehearsal breaks, and that usually end with “we should do X or we should start Y” and then get back into production mode.

Those initial small conversations among our core four folks produced a set of 10 big questions about value and the arts. Those 10 questions produced discussion in our first large gathering that headed into two broad categories:

  • The needs, aspirations, and purposes of artists;
  • Both the existing and the missing organizational resources for artists in our communities and cities.

That discussion has prompted a variety of activity in the areas of arts advocacy and resource sharing and development. People are making new relationships with local governments and businesses to create opportunities for artistic projects or new access to spaces. People are launching advocacy initiatives in the context of probable massive changes to traditional arts funding structures. People are sketching out new, more agile arts organizations that could better address needs that aren’t being addressed, or are under-addressed.

Articulating Value in the Arts has been an evolving platform, driven by artists, which culminates with a public Symposium in September of 2017. This project is neither comprehensive, nor authoritative. They are meant to represent a crystalization of insights, initiatives and possibilities articulated in the first place by artists, towards future actions and initiatives. It is also meant as a spark, hopefully setting alight a greater engagement and interest on the part of artists, towards a clearer, more inclusive and empowered articulation for the Arts in central North Carolina.

                                    - Murielle Elizéon, Chris Vitiello, Ginger Wagg & Tommy Noonan: September, 2017