Admit it. Arts & culture advocates need an iPhone app.

By Nettrice Gaskins, Board Member, NAMAC
We know about the WPA: In the 1930s hundreds of thousands of works of art were commissioned and millions were employed to carry out and operate large arts, drama, media, and literacy projects.  Subsequent generations, including mine, greatly benefited from this until the late 1970s and early 80s.

We also know about today's reality: Funding for the arts is the first to be cut.  The arts are seen as too abstract unless they are bundled with other enterprises such as science and business.  Marketing firms in the private sector understand the value of art as promotional content.  Politicians and government officials are less sensitive to the role art plays in everyday life.  A lot of energy was expended to include art opportunities in the economic stimulus package.  Arlene Goldbard compiled the activities in her essay, The New New Deal, Part 2 - A WPA for Artists: How and Why.  Goldbard included NAMAC's call for a Digital Arts Service Corps.

So what's next?

We need to craft and disseminate more compelling rhetoric to encourage the government and the private sector to fund a nationwide public arts movement.  We also need to use existing and emerging technologies to spread new and alternative messages to counter the social-political verbal gymnastics in the mainstream media.  Words like "public" and "participation" have been given a negative connotation in the media (as part of big bad activism).  Such messaging is deceitful and it does not allow the American public to get a clear perception of what needs to be done to effectively address their issues.

I envision a promotional package for the arts that can be tweeted/retweeted, posted as ads or mobile tags on Facebook, and downloaded as a mobile application for smart devices.  More and more art institutions are using mobile technologies to enhance the museum/gallery experience.  Ovation TV sponsored interactive artwork by artist John Baldessari that enables users to create their own still life on their iPhones or iPads.  This is being used to promote Baldessari's retrospective, Pure Beauty, at LACMA.  Rather than relegate gaming and mobile technologies to entertainment we could be launching a new arts movement using these emerging platforms.

Just sayin'.
July 19, 2010 4:47 AM | | Comments (0) |

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