VAAC Meeting Re-cap–No News is…No News

First off–I’d like to thank all those members of the Arts Council Board who have been most religiously reading my blog and causing my hits to skyrocket in the past week or so. Though may I suggest some additional reading–the Bylaws ? Also, thanks to that person who found my blog using the search term, “Big Hot Bubbies.” I’m not sure what you were looking for, but I hope you found it here.

The meeting tonight was sparsely attended–thanks in part to it being scheduled on the night of the opening of the Stillwell Student Art Show. Some Board members said, “they [who weren’t at the VAAC meeting] made a choice,” and they did. They made a choice to support the arts by going to the biggest art opening of the year. I am still wondering what the hell I was thinking. I’ll bring my kiddo to the Stillwell tomorrow, though. I am not much for the crowds.

Despite being accused of “personal attacks” myself (presumably for pointing out what the Board leadership was doing, and asking them to step down– with no names mentioned), the biggest recipient of personal attacks at the meeting tonight was, in fact, my own dear Harry.

Considering what a thorough amount of research he has done on the proposed building given the limited access he’s had, and the long hours of research he’s done on stucco buildings, as well as the observations he’s gleaned from others who’ve looked over the proposed new building, well–let’s say he cares a lot. It’s not nice when you’re attacked for caring and contributing and expressing your concerns.

So, after the heated meeting, during which many voices were raised but nothing seemed to be resolved, we went down and had a beer to unwind. And we talked to a few actual artists unwinding from their long night–including my fab friend Amy, the multi-media artist who creates beautiful glass jewelry, and whose yet-to-be determined piece from those vintage linens we found in Minneapolis the weekend we got snowed in up there I can’t wait to see.

She’d spent the better part of the week installing the Stillwell exhibit despite a nasty illness. Her husband Mike, the ceramics prof, was there, and Chris Meyer, sculpture prof–whose groovy sculpture used to grace the back lot of the Art Center until it started to decay and was torn out.

I wish the VAAC Board would embrace local art and local artists beyond a few student art shows and children’s classes. I wish we had a more encompassing vision of the arts and humanities, and I wish those people, like myself, who have contributed and cared so much didn’t have to constantly look over their shoulders and wonder if the rug would be pulled out from under them.

I have this vision of an arts center in Vermillion–one that would be encompassing and welcoming to local artists. One that would encourage and support those in the membership who work so hard to keep it going–even if they don’t directly contribute a huge amount of money. I thought we were getting close to that back when I was on the Board just about a year ago.

I’ve been hearing this “sell the building” babble for so many years, I didn’t think it could really happen. After all–they committed to building a fancy basement classroom, and to the community garden project (and it’s not a f*cking subsidy–that’s the one point where I’ll swear) which everyone–especially the gardeners on the Board knows, takes more than a year–more than two or three even–to develop.

Since I know you read this blog, VAAC Board, let me ask if we can come tear out all your plantings and leave you with a hard-packed gravel lot covered in crabgrass and dandelions and see how far you get in a year while only spending $50 for a water tank. Uh huh. Or, maybe we should say we’re subsidizing you–for the new memberships and interest the garden has provided you.

Except–guess what? I, and we, did this for the benefit of the VAAC and the benefit of the community, and we are a part of both. We are far less “subsidized” than the student art shows or kids art classes.

And it would be super nice if you’d just say thanks. And maybe even reassure us that you won’t sell the lot to developers–especially since we’ve already made clear we’d want to buy it if it came to selling.

We’re tired of being treated like the proverbial red-headed step-child. And we’re working on a helluva sculpture plan too–vertical elements and stepping stones and all kinds of good stuff. Because we do crazy things like get to know and talk to and think about ways we can encourage local artists.

I wish you guys would too.

Now, if you’ll excuse me, I have a community garden to help plan.

(Whoops!  I almost forgot to mention that Courtny Nesheim, USD’s Americorps/Vista representative, was present at the meeting, and wanted to discuss how her office helped administer Amanda’s grant that helped get the money to renovate that fancy basement classroom.  She also wanted to point out how involved they are in the community garden project.  Alas, the Board’s “only members can speak” rule forced her to remain silent.)


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