Friday, February 20, 2009

Mr. Gaston Goes To College

The recent closing of the Gulf Coast Museum of Art in Largo cast a question mark on the fate of 425 works in the permanent collection. The prevailing thought saw the break-up and dispersal of the entire collection to scattered museums.

On February 18, St. Petersburg College president Carl Kuttler rode to the rescue by announcing the College will acquire all 425 works. This small gem of contemporary Florida art will now remain in Pinellas County and be available to a whole new audience.

My history with the College stretches back to 1964, when I took my first art course at then St. Petersburg Junior College. Introduction to Art 101 seemed like a cake walk to us swell-head artists, but the unexpected final exam proved to be a deflating experience. The instructor placed a fresh egg on the display table, and instructed us to make a contour drawing, using no lines. After that impossible assignment, I considered changing my major.

Thirty-four years later, the Gulf Coast Museum of Art purchased the above painting, A Close Shave for their permanent collection. It is fitting that St. Petersburg College now owns this piece of my work. In retrospect, passing that long ago art course turned out to be a close shave indeed.

Friday, February 13, 2009

Yes We Can

Just moments ago, the U.S. House of Representatives approved their final version of the Economic Recovery bill by a vote of 246-183. We can now confirm that the package DOES include $50 million in direct support for arts jobs through National Endowment for the Arts grants. We are also happy to report that the exclusionary Coburn Amendment language banning certain arts groups from receiving any other economic recovery funds has also been successfully removed. Tonight the Senate is scheduled to have their final vote, and President Obama plans to sign the bill on Monday - President's Day.

A United Voice

This is an important victory for all of you as arts advocates. More than 85,000 letters were sent to Congress, thousands of calls were made, and hundreds of op-eds, letters to the editor, news stories, and blog entries were generated in print and online media about the role of the arts in the economy. Artists, business leaders, mayors, governors, and a full range of national, state, and local arts groups all united together on this advocacy issue. This outcome marks a stunning turnaround of events and exemplifies the power of grassroots arts advocacy.

Sunday, February 8, 2009

The Gulf Coast Museum of Art Closes

Bad choices and bad economic times did not doom the Gulf Coast Museum of Art in Largo. They may have added to its burden, but cultural apathy must be considered the final nail in the museum's coffin.

If the giant retailer Ikea had chosen to locate in Pinellas County instead of Tampa, government and community officials would have bent over backward in giving incentives and tax breaks.

If the Tampa Bay Rays baseball team threatened to pull out of town, all the forces of government and business would be brought to bear to convince them to stay. A way would be found. Yet, in its final hour of need, no one considered an art museum worthy of saving. Yes, it is sad.

Thursday, February 5, 2009

Objets Immobiliers

Une vague de froid a descendu sur cette partie de la Floride et, en réponse, j'ai burrowed supplémentaires dans mon appartement snug. Froid constricts le corps, ralentit fonction mentale et, dans mon cas, provoque penser à devenir plus réfléchissante. Je suis regard à la fenêtre, boire tasses de thé Jasmin et de s'interroger sur art faire.

Il y a deux mois, j'abandonné mon studio à la balle fatal de progrès d'une personne et faire maintenant art hors de ce petit appartement. La table de salle à manger est ma planche à dessin, la salle de séjour saurait dans un cadrage et de la zone de stockage. Aucun espace n'est négligé et chaque nuit, je dors au-dessus de piles de terminé dessins poussés sous le lit.

Paul Klee a travaillé pour ans sur sa table de cuisine. Un ami crée bel peintures de toiles penché contre son mur de garage. Comment peut j'estime mauvaise sur les peintures et les solvants empilés sur mon comptoir de cuisine. Il y a encore la possibilité de créer des œuvres d'art n'ont jamais faites auparavant.

Aujourd'hui, toutefois, je suis contenu simplement demander à ce sujet.

Publié par Denis Gaston à 12 H 20 0 commentaires
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Wednesday, February 4, 2009

Immovable Objects

A cold wave has descended on this part of Florida and, in response, I've burrowed further into my snug apartment. Cold constricts the body, slows mental function, and, in my case, causes thinking to become more reflective. I gaze out the window, drink cups of jasmine tea and wonder about art making.

Two months ago I abandoned my studio to the wrecking ball of someone's progress and now make art out of this little apartment. The dining room table is my drawing board, the living room morphed into a framing and storage area. No space is neglected and each night I sleep above stacks of finished drawings pushed underneath the bed.

Paul Klee worked for years on his kitchen table. A friend creates beautiful paintings on canvases leaned against his garage wall. How can I feel bad about paints and solvents stacked on my kitchen counter. There is still the opportunity to create works of art that have never been done before.

Today, however, I am content to simply wonder about it.