Saturday, February 07, 2009

MKE Kre8 Kamp Forward Thoughts

These are not my final thoughts on MKE Kre8 Kamp. They are simply my FORWARD thoughts.

Forward because this effort is moving forward. I will be damned if it doesn't. I have children, and I like living in this reason. I want things to be better for my children than they are for me. I want the idea that this are is a creative community to not just be the "icing on the cake" idea. I want it to be a great source of pride for everyone in our region to say, "We are a destination for arts and culture and we are people who treat our creatives well."

42 people decided to come to a summer resort in Delavan in the dead of winter to talk about the future of the creative community in our region. Was this a perfect process? No. Was it a richly diverse group of people who are involved in the creative process in this area. Absolutely not. Does anyone there think that the process is over. Hell no.

The 42 peope who stepped up and paid a hundred bucks to be there, did it for a singular purpose: they want the creative future of our area to be bright. The 42 people who took time out of there lives to do stupid things like skits and game playing, did it to get to finally say, "We are scared for our creative community and we want to help."

I've asked why there weren't more creatives at this initial meeting. It was a misstep. But one that will not happen as we move forward. Understand this: the creative community is going to be involved in this process. But the creative community needs to come to the discussion with an open mind to everything (we're creatives, we're supposed to be good at that). Did I every think a discussion of the region's water assets had any bearing on the cultural life in our backyard? No, not really, but now I see that we're all intertwined in important ways that need to be picked through. Come on fans of THE WIRE, you know that Season Two looked like it had nothing to do with anything, but when you got to Season Five you realized the brilliance of that departure, right? (Okay, a vague and meandering reference, but if you're a WIRE fan, I know you're with me.)

What will happen next? You will start to hear voices speak about this process. We will shape more plans for inclusion. We're looking for a critical mass of leaders. This leadership is not going to be an exclusive leadership. This is going to be a leadership of informed messengers. There will be a follow up meeting coming in the next couple of months to more cohesively detail how the creative community will (not "if", but "will" because this is a mandate) be involved in shaping the vision of our region as the envy of all creative communities.

The leadership that was at this summit is engaged now. If you want to be involved, contact them. If you don't know how to contact them, contact me. E-mail me any thoughts at or post comments. Understand that this process will be as effective as we as a creative community are involved. If we are not involved, and I commit to fighting for us all to be involved, our future will be determined by folks not in the arts and culture trenches on a daily basis.

People are listening. Speak.

And, yes, I still now think the Bronze Fonz is a bad idea. We're gonna change the way people think about Milwaukee. End of story.


Rex Winsome, AKA Ben Turk said...

Jonathan, I sincerely hope you have the authority to follow through on these things:

"I've asked why there weren't more creatives at this initial meeting. It was a misstep. But one that will not happen as we move forward."

Do others at the meeting consider it a misstep?

I ask because you had nothing to do with making that mistep (you wouldn't have made it) and i bet you'll have nothing to do with the deciding and inviting process next time. Also because, lets face it, this is exactly the same mistep that's been made dozens of times by the people who are making the decisions.

Those people have a credibility gap in creatives' minds, and more creatives aren't going to get involved until that credibility gap is fixed. You can't fix it, cuz Artsy Schmartzy doesn't have a credibility gap, they do, but you also don't have power and authority, they do. Can we get them (the GMC, the CA, whatever other secret agents set this up) to admit this mistake and match your commitment to not let it happen again?

Cuz if not, your words won't do anything to renew our confidence in these people.

And i don't even mean Christine Harris, cuz i really beleive that she was working to get more creatives there. That only makes this even more frustrating, cuz they KNEW they were making this "mistep" as they made it, and they did it anyway.

Jonathan West said...

Ben Rex Winsonheimer,

One answer: YES.

I'll be at the table, I'll have some credibility, and creatives will be involved.

I defy you to stop me.

Rex Winsome, AKA Ben Turk said...

I'm not the one you've gotta worry about trying to stop you.