Thursday, August 24, 2006

Last Call for Penn Ave.

Hopefully, my blog is not read by too many people other than artists, and some other marginal "art folks" here in Pittsburgh. If you are not one of them please ignore this post!!

So now, to the rest of you..... Please, Please, Please, if you are a sincere artist or gallerist-- buy your building on Penn in Garfield ASAP. And I mean f---n now.

People who have read my "talking to birds" ( more talking ) ( and more talking ) rants and my boiling frog flashbacks, might have some idea why I am here and my obsession with the idea that artist's need to take control of thier lives and own stakes in thier creative communities. Well one very important and wonderfully located place in Pittsburgh is having a last call or at least the signs of one are there.

This was an area of Pittsburgh that was and still is pretty raw, pretty poor and pretty rough. It was also, to anyone who looked at a map damn well located. One space there, Garfield Artworks has been shining a light here since the eighties as an exhibition and performance space. Then, sometime later; the idea of "saving" the area with art and artists seemed to gather steam.

I think that a lot of money was tossed around in grants with the idea of getting artists to move into the area. Honestly, a lot of the stuff that was written shows a gross attempt to use a few "creative" types to create a gentrification wave. But still as a whole , the idea was wise and logical in that the area already had a lot of artists, was well located in relation to Oakland and the colleges and was "artist" cheap. It was also severly depressed with many vacant buildings and a bad crime issue. Also, that artists were encouraged to buy into a nieghborhood was something very great.

The Pittsburgh Glass Center opened there a few years back making it home to some of the best Glass studio facilities in America. Even so, for many years, it seemed like very slow going attracting artists and almost all the other investors and businesses steered clear. The few positive things seemed very alone.

Well, on Sept 1, I will be going to the opening of Carolyn's Studio/exhibit space on Penn and from what I can see, the last call is coming soon. In the last few months a number of spaces have finally opened and the paint cans are out for several more. Most of these things are artist owned buildings and projects so they have nice shot at sustainablity. But, now one see,s the clear hand prints of the usual group of "developers" there. This is one of Pittsburghs most realistic shots at having a liveable and funtional art and gallery district and one that artists own and have a stake in. If after all the struggle and ground work artist's are pushed to the margin of this area it will be on them and I won't feel pitty when the fools start picking at thier wounds and scabs.

And as to you real estate types, you should realise that a lot of artists have serious drug problems and are crazy, just wait untill the first ear gets cut off and your investment will be down the tubes.

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