So today has been a bit of a mish mash and has, like the Presley song, “sent my temperature rising”, but not I feel, for the same reason as Presley. In fact I am so miffed that I decided to post here as it is arts related.
So annoyance number one: I have not mentioned in my blog but as well as the dementia exhibition (which I very excitedly was told (my excitement not there’s) that I’ve been given an extension on as mine is the central piece), I also have the MA show at Atkinson Gallery coming up (one of my pieces: Snapshot, from the With Me, Without Me series is included) and four pieces from my Transience series are going to be in Here and There (working title) at Aspex Gallery.
Anyhow, the Transience and With Me, Without Me pieces are prints and I was informed today that my work would be delivered by the end of the day. Well one rather thin (they are aluminium prints) box turned up, I opened it and though great quality, it was 1 image and not 5 big prints as it was meant to be. I telephoned and was assured that it was coming today and would be in 5 deliveries. I then received a text from the delivery company telling me my order was complete: it wasn’t. Again I telephoned the printers, who again assured me they would all arrive separately by the end of the day but because they were required for an exhibition they agreed to do a reprint and send them 24 hour (I thought they were 24 hour anyway). At least they refunded my £20 delivery cost.
So as mentioned I was a tad annoyed. However this was nothing compared to my anger and annoyance when I received a reply to an email I sent to the council today.
I am organising a rather large arts event this May-June. I have been working very hard for months through the not for profit I run, Live Art Local, to build relationships between various bodies and to create a web of organisations and venues to make this a truly wonderful event. With a multi venue trail of exhibitions I created last year with a tiny council grant I was assured by the local council that they were so impressed that they were definitely going to be involved this year and due to this there would be more cavaeats to my funding. However, the suggestion was I would receive much larger funding (I was unpaid for several months full time work last year) and support (I received no real support last year, aside from my small grant).
Four weeks before Christmas I presented a numerously paged document, as asked, detailing every aspect of the festival, every single penny accounted for, I was assured I would be contacted immediately upon reading and meeting. Today, having still not heard anything I contacted the person I had a meeting with and got a reply.
Depressingly, this reply did not contain what I wished, nor what I had expected, following our meeting and what was told to me. In fact what I received was a total reneging on their pledge. I found this particularly hard to take as in my meetings with colleges, theatres, art centres, shopping centres, libraries, charity and businesses, I have declared that I have the council.
I am at a loss.
I find it very hard as an artist to make change happen. I still do, I still launch things and create things; indeed through Live Art Local I run free to attend Artist networking. However I find it so depressing that to coin a rather passe and cliched phrase “the man” has a habit of turning up at the last minute to the organsing meeting and then, like a drunk afterparty guest declaring to everyone that they created this great thing. I have experienced this with politicians too.
The thing is, as an artist who is out there in the wilderness, trying to establish a career, create a community, and change the world (well their little bit of it) through the power of art and to make people realise they are creative and that art is for them; it’s really hard. You cannot stand up to “the man” because you need him and even if they renege on their word and offer you the chance of something much smaller, you need all the credence you can muster and all the money you can get your hands on and so what do you do?
It is a depressing state of affairs that you need to put up and shut up. I even fear venting on my blog that it may find it’s way to someone and I will appear rude and ungrateful, but at the moment I don’t know if I have anything to be grateful for; and at present I am just bitter.
We artists need to unite, we need to bind together, we cannot rely on the man to help us, we cannot accept what our local Governments say when they tell us they’re “listening” and they will work with us because they can renege on their promises. Many of the artists I have met locally through the way I have tried to start to change the local artistic landscape have thanked me and said people had spoken about it before, but noone had done anything until I made it happen. We cannot just talk about change, we need to work together to affect it and if it doesn’t happen then we have noone to blame but ourselves.
On a lighter note and aside from my diatribe, I have been progressing with the bookcase over the last couple of days (see earlier post about the dementia exhibition). I have recruited my husband to drill numerous holes for me throughout the top tiers (shelves and sides) decreasing in number as we go down the bookcase until we reach the bottom shelf and childhood where there are none. These holes varying in intensity are representative of how dementia eats away at the brain and creates both literal and metaphorical holes in the self.