Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Kre8 Kamp--you're right, time to specify.

I've been accused of spazzing out about Kre8 Kamp by more than a few people. I prefer to think that I'm getting all wiggy, but that's just splitting hairs on the semantics.

But what happened exactly? Good question.

I could show you about 500 continuing e-mail exchanges back and forth from the participants that are also trying to define that so we can tell you accurately.

What I will say is this: the ultimate goal that I think I heard is to stop always talking about arts and culture from the "economic development" standpoint, and start talking about arts and culture from the "this is great stuff, and makes this a great city" kind of standpoint.

So, my specifics that come from this (not necessarily those of the full group assembled, though I do believe that the majority would concur):

1. Include more artists in further discussions on how this initiative to make all Milwaukee realize that arts and culture are not a "nice-to-have", but are a "must have."
2. Invite a number of artists to a 150 person follow up to this past meeting.
3. Invite even more to a 400 person follow up to that meeting.
4. Make sure that at each new meeting we have, there are action items coming out.
5. Come up with a name for what it is we are trying to do.
6. Work tirelessly to elect a mayor who cares about arts and culture.
7. Work with civic leaders so that arts and culture are always important talking points in their discussions on why this is a great city.
8. Do my work as a theater artist and writer so that I'm not just talking about it, but rather, contributing to better arts and culture all around.
9. Make more things with more creative friends.

Truth be told, we shouldn't even need to have this discussion. We should just be doing our creative stuff. And maybe this is all it will take. A nose down approach to creation, because we love it, and any stamp of validation is nothing more than noise in the air. If we artists just make the art, forget about the economics of the whole thing, its bound to be better than just talking advocacy.

And to those questioning what the Cultural Alliance is doing, I have heard them talking about the implementation of a cultural arts directory of everything that is going on. I believe it will take shape in a website. And I have heard it said by many people involved in Kre8 Kamp that it is time to go to our creative communities and seek them out, rather than waiting for them to crawl out of the woodwork.

I will also specifically continue to meet more people. And with those people, I will talk about art. Cuz I just like talking about art.

Done. Sleep. Glorious sleep.


Rex Winsome, AKA Ben Turk said...

Alright, sounds good. Looking forward to some results.

Correct me if i'm wrong, but I think you're wrong about the CA doing a creatives directory. Last I heard it was MARN that's doing that. Credit where credit's due.

Jonathan West said...

Yes, I think you're right about my gaffe. I do think MARN is on that. But let me get clarity, because Cultural Alliance is working hard on a comprehensive web directory (or so I believe, or maybe want to believe).

Rex Winsome, AKA Ben Turk said...

So, wait... it's a duplication of effort then? That'd suck.

I thought it was cooperative, CA promotes the thing MARN's already creating.

How it oughta happen:

1. MARN unveils their new artist directory (which oughta be user-powered, with a good search function and usability). CA promotes it, links to it, maybe even helps fund it. MARN shares the credit and future development with the CA. Everyone else (me, you, mike, pegi, etc etc) promotes the site to their respective sector of the creative community. A few point people (one from each sector) become admins and developers, helping users, cleaning up posts, suggesting improvements.

2. A user-powered events listing is added to this site. Again, highly searchable, also with comments functions. Meaning anyone can comment on any event or group. This will create user-generated content, and also real critical reviews from real audience members. Commentors should not be allowed to be anonymous, and admins would be able to delete ad hominem attacks, but everything else should be fair game.

3. at no point should there be premium accounts, pay-extra for first listing or any special privledges for some organizations. The rich already get enough special treatment from the JS.

4. If we want real street level culture to participate in this site, then it can't become something that the police force uses to bust punk shows. The city or the cultural alliance could make it a lot easier for venues to know what is legal and what's not, how to easily get a permit, and how to cooperate with inspectors.

5. Ticket purchases, bundling and other fancy functionality could be a second add-on to this site, but it'd be important that the site be built well and remain efficient, so it'll run quickly on any machine. We wouldn't want to make the mistake that The Shep Express made with their site. What a monster.