For artists, Phoenix is a city of potential.
“It’s such a young city that we are creating our infrastructure, creating our culture,” Kristin Bauer said at The Art in the Valley: Next Gen lecture Wednesday at the Phoenix Art Museum. “What’s exciting is that it’s easier … to experiment.”
Yet the critical aspect of patronage and support is missing in the art scene, said Bauer, an artist who helped run the now-closed Squeeze Gallery in Scottsdale.
“It’s a fragile potential,” she said.
Part of the Contemporary Forum’s lecture and film series, the evening discussion brought together prominent members of the local art scene. The speakers painted a hopeful future for Arizona’s art scene, but many lamented the lack of a solid network between those that appreciate art and its up-and-coming creators.
“We’d like to see more art patrons come out and start a dialogue with the emerging artists,” said Emmett Potter, an artist who helped run Squeeze Gallery.
Being a patron of art does not only refer to paying big bucks for it, said Peter Bugg, director of ASU Student Galleries. Support can easily be accomplished by writing about artists, visiting their shows and informing others about the artwork.
However, not all participating artists were so critical. Kade Twist, an artist and the co-founder of Postcommodity, a contemporary artist collective, said he is optimistic.
“We’re building from a source of power,” he said, citing the support of ASU and the dynamic, unique aspects of the city.
Twist did agree with others on one low point — coverage of local art. A disciplined, focused discourse on contemporary art does not exist, he said.
Twist also stressed the importance of artists to create art relevant to their audience and not rely on the press to generate interest.
Kim Larkin, former director of Modified Arts, offered some advice to combat this.
“It’s easy for artists to be in a bubble,” she said, but she recommended developing relationships with artists outside Arizona to draw them to the state.
Despite an uncertain future, art is still an integral part of Arizona’s community.
“We have this diverse group of people and a really amazing community of this mix between graffiti artists and street artists, and painters and sculptors,” Potter said. “It’s not really segregated. It’s a nice mesh of people supporting the arts.”
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