You should read this because Brenner is so damned smart.

I'm not necessarily of the opinion that people read the comments on this blog, so I'm posting this one just left by Mike Brenner. Smarty. That's Brenner, pink hair and all:

Mike Brenner said...

the initial concept for the Cultural Alliance was an arts council for Milwaukee. the idea came from a very talented guy who moved to Milwaukee from out of state. he had been an active member of the arts council in Columbus. he was involved in all of the initial planning of the Cultural Alliance, but was convinced to leave the board so he'd be eligible to be hired as executive director. then the Cultural Alliance decided to grow to seven counties and include zoos and historical societies, and the job was given to the wife of some wealthy man who had a vested interest in the organization. the man who's brain child was the Cultural Alliance has since given up on Milwaukee and moved to Chicago.

there was also a point where i met with the Hertzfeld Foundation (a major supporter of the Cultural Alliance) to ask for funding for MARN. i was told MARN would never get a penny from the Hertzfeld Foundation unless we did all our programming under the name of the Cultural Alliance and met with their director (then Tony Forman) on a regular basis for guidance.

a lot of pressure was put on us to hand over our mailing list to the Cultural Alliance and to persuade our members to join their organization as well. i never saw the benefit for individual artists in doing that.

in the end, i gave up on MARN because the team of consultants we hired was told (earlier this year) that none of the funders in town would give money to MARN's arts incubator 'because of the failure of the Cultural Alliance.'

i guess my failure was my inability (lack of desire) to get the 'right' people on MARN's board. all i ever wanted to create was an organization for artists by artists that could be honest about our situation here and make things better for artists. unfortunately, there's very minimal financial support for organizations not run by Yes Men.

what i don't understand though, is how an organization, like the Cultural Alliance, that seems to be well funded, doesn't do anything that's apparent to any of us. to me it reads like an offshoot of UPAF... same funders, same administrators and serves the same organizations.

what they HOPE to do is great. if they do it, great. but until then Milwaukee remains one of the only major cities in America without a full-time (PAID) staff person working to make the arts a priority... which was what the Cultural Alliance was supposed to be in the first place when it was formed in 2003.