Culture Mill will produce Articulating Value in the Arts: Symposium on September 23rd at Living Arts Collective in Durham, NC from 10am to 3pm. The event will represent the culmination of Culture Mill’s 1-year conversation series and sustained consideration of the relationship between art and value. Activities will include the release of a self-produced book containing original writings, interviews and relevant texts, as well as several live presentations on new research and local initiatives originating from the project. The symposium will feature several breakout discussion groups before finishing with a panel discussion from local arts professionals and academics on the relationship between art and value.
Articulating Value in the Arts is a project initiated by Culture Mill co-directors Tommy Noonan and Murielle Elizéon, co-led by local artists Chris Vitiello and Ginger Wagg, and supported by the Mary Duke Biddle Foundation. Articulating Value in the Arts hopes to seed new opportunities for a diverse arts community through greater discussion among artists on the relationship between art and value. The project has consisted of nearly 30 meetings between Noonan, Elizéon, Vitiello and Wagg, 5 larger artist gatherings held in Durham, Raleigh, Chapel Hill and Saxapahaw with attendance ranging between 10 and 40 local artists per gathering, and numerous formal and informal interviews with colleagues and visiting artists.
The Symposium on September 23rd will provide an overview of experiences and observations gleaned over the course of the project from the leading team. Laura Ritchie, director of The Carrack Modern Art, will present her research on the Durham art market, initiated in part by her participation the Articulating Value project. Artist and accountant Jessica Jones will speak about the possibility for a Professional Artist Resource Center (or PARC), which has also sprung from the project. Tommy Noonan will speak about the national artist movement for fair artist pay: Working Artists and the Greater Economy (or W.A.G.E) and Culture Mill’s efforts to become the first W.A.G.E-certified non-profit organization in the southeast. Breakout discussions will be led by local administrators in the public arts sector, as well as by arts services organizations such as Triangle Art Works, and will seek to provide arts professionals with new perspectives, information and contacts. The final panel discussion will be moderated by Indyweek Arts and Culture Editor: Brian Howe, and will feature a discussion on art and value from perspectives such as race and class, institutions and infrastructure, the future of artist payment and labor and the future of arts in North Carolina and in the US.
Tickets are $15, general admission; $10 for students/seniors/artists.
This project hopes to seed new opportunities for a diverse arts community through a sustained consideration of the relationship between art and value. The project consists of a series of community conversations, culminating in a public symposium on September 23rd in Durham, NC.
We started last year with small conversations among the core group of four. Then we had a large gathering of around 40 people at the Carrack in Durham. Now we’re facilitating gatherings in the three points of the Triangle—we did one in Durham at the Shed, this one at Anchorlight, and one next month at the Nightlight in Chapel Hill. We’re doing things this way in order to gradually grow this project out of the kinds of casual, personal conversations after gallery openings or during rehearsal breaks that we all have all the time, and that usually end with “we should do X or we should start Y” and then we have a second whiskey or get back into performance mode.
So, 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:
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 is an evolving platform, which will end with a large public forum in September of 2017. Below, please find information as to the past and future gatherings, the 10 questions at the core of the project, and how some local and visiting artists have addressed those questions. As the project evolves, this website will contain links to further interviews, writings and initiatives which result from the discussions and gatherings.
- Chris Vitiello, Murielle Elizéon, Tommy Noonan and Ginger Wagg