Sustaining a creative legacySection 4A, The Arts Thursday, January 10th, 2013
It’s no secret to me but you might be surprised to know how many artists live and work in obscurity and with a great deal of financial insecurity. Throughout history many individuals who are driven to make art do so not as a hobby but rather as an obsessive need to solve an essential, existential or aesthetic riddle.
Artists are observers, thinkers, makers and they do this important culture-making work on behalf of us all. Like actors and athletes most artists won’t rise to the top. Most won’t strike it rich. Most won’t get famous. In some cases the artist might not event exhibit their work, in fact they might even recoil at the very idea. They will sculpt or paint, take pictures or make things with a great deal of satisfaction and for the sake of whatever audience they might find during their lifetime.
With this in mind I want to shine a spotlight on two very worthy enterprises that you might consider during this year.
San Diego LGBT Weekly does not serve the San Francisco community but I am confident many of us have close connections with that city. Therefore, you might consider supporting Visual Aid or telling an artist friend who lives in the Bay Area who is dealing with an illness and struggling to make ends meet about Visual Aid’s programs.
All too often, when an artist becomes ill, he or she has a tough time physically, emotionally and financially and creative production is neglected. Visual Aid provides free art supplies, grants, career resources and community to artists who are in need and dealing with financial hardship. With up to 150,000 visitors a year, cutting edge exhibitions at Visual Aid Gallery and community venues the goal of Visual Aid is to stimulate dialogue about illness and art and sustain a creative legacy.
The second enterprise I want to spotlight speaks to legacy directly. It is the Queer Artist Project at our very own Lambda Archives. The project was initiated by Susan Richards and Bruce Kanerling back in the 1990s.
It has been dormant for a while but it is being revitalized by the nonprofit and spearheaded by archive volunteer and art history student Cesar Chavez. I stopped by the Archive’s the other day and was impressed by their amazing new space (right behind Diversionary Theatre). There is a mini-museum, a reference library and of course masses of historical materiel on tape, paper and in digital form.
San Diego is lucky to have such an impressive repository of its LGBTQ history. You should check it out if you are interested in our local gay heritage and perhaps think about supporting them by becoming a member.
In particular though I’d like to suggest that if you are an artist who identifies as LGBT or queer or if you have been holding on to the work of a local gay artist who has passed away then please contact the Lambda Archives and look into having that important evidence of our cultural footprint preserved for the sake of future generations.
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