Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Olympia should be a retreat center.

On the politics front Olympia Washington is doing great, having first spearheaded Port Militarization resistance and then spread the idea through networking up and Puget sound to Tacoma, with a Seattle presence probably next (if the RCP doesn't co-opt people in Seattle interested in it), but on the art front Olympia has a very serious problem, which is that it's a great incubator for new ideas but not the best place to execute them if you want those same ideas seen by the rest of the world. Olympia is too isolated from Seattle, and most of the people who come through there interested in buying art are tourists who like nice landscapes of Bud inlet, Olympia's section of Puget Sound. When I was there some people got together and actually rented a place for exhibition of independent artists' work that also served as a performance space for avant-garde bands and individual music makers coming through, and that's an enormous, positive step. The thing is that even with that in the bag in order to gain actual recognition for your work and possibly sell it you have to branch out to Seattle, maybe to Portland, and elsewhere and network with folks there. This networking is actually much easier if you yourself live in one of these places, amazingly enough.

Which is why I think that Olympia in relation to the arts would be better as a retreat place or maybe an artist's colony, some place where folks could live for a period of time, maybe get scholarships to live and work at, develop their art, talk to other artists, develop their ideas, and then at the end of it go back to where they came from and put the new knowledge into action.

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