Art and society : LUSENET : Public Art : One Thread

Does our society get the Art it deserves?

-- Derek Cowper (, November 12, 1997


Main Entry: de7serve
Pronunciation: di-'z&rv
Function: verb
Inflected Form(s): de7served; de7serv7ing
Etymology: Middle English, from Old French deservir, from Latin deservire to devote oneself to, from de- + servire to serve
Date: 13th century
transitive senses : to be worthy of : MERIT <deserves another chance>
intransitive senses : to be worthy, fit, or suitable for some reward or requital <have become recognized as they deserve -- T. S. Eliot>
- de7serv7er noun

-- richard (, November 15, 1997.

Wednesday 26,1997

To: San Francisco Board of Supervisors

From: San Francisco Artists for Action

Subject: Artists Unprotected

Fellow Artists,

Are your artistic rights and employment opportunity rights being protected by the San Francisco Art Commission? I really don't believe so. The S.F Art Commission made no announcements, calls or notices for proposals for public sculpture for the foot of Market Street plaza area. Where does the Commission get off selecting, not only a non-San Franciscan, but also an out-of-state artist to put up a 'foot' or an outhouse in a public place? Yet many of us have slides representing the various types of our work registered and archived at the SF Art Commission Gallery. Eve n if the work registered is not appropriate for a particular site, it demonstrates that there are artists who are capable of executing the work. Really, now, how many artists keep 20-40 foot tall sculptures in inventory on spec?

The Commission slide registry is ineffective. We artists are not being recognized for the work we do, nor are we given a fair chance to compete for the honor to erect something that the citizens of our city, the taxpayers, and millions of visitors will enjoy for years to come. When self-appointed art experts and so-called curators review the registry they often have a particular trendy style in mind. Many are frustrated designers wanting to be trendier than the last person.

Our intent is to open this can of worms and expose the processes of not only the Art Commission, but also Stanlee Gatti's workings within the framework of City Hall. A copy of this was emailed to the Honorable Mayor's office with no reply received thus far. Slowly the hate and discontent are growing as artists within the city become less known to the public. An excuse for not fostering local talent is to point to the amount of money we allegedly receive through grants and awards, occasionally doled out through non-profits. In real reality, the paltry amount of money we artists actually receive after it filters through the bureaucracy is pathetic. It is not enough to feed a canary lunch for a week. Have any of us ever received enough grant money to pay for anything more than materials for a specific project?

There is some light at the end of the tunnel. It is time to fight the red tape and total garbage of the Art Commission by organizing an Advocacy for all artists, a mouthpiece that strives to protect not only the right to create but also helps with legal problems. We artists need help with dealing with unscrupulous art galleries where ourwork often gets stolen, damaged on and off the premises, or burned up in a fire. Work is often sold, our funds that are supposed to be held in trust are commingled, and usually held for weeks and months before we are paid for consigned works. I am an artist and I care about what happens when no one is looking. I want to be recognized and valued for my hard work like so many of you who are striving to make world a better place to live in through art. Let us bind together and make our point clear that we as artists won't stand to be treated as second-class citizens. We pay taxes and we have a right to be heard. Rally around the cause for artists, the San Francisco Artists for Action.

Make these words your words: "Artists for Artists." The motto is about bringing a better understanding of art and its value to society. Only you can do it. The San Francisco Art Commission certainly isn't doing it for you!

One of Many, A Concerned Fine Artist

-- Reverend Richard L. Wooster II (, November 28, 1997.

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