Friday, July 18, 2008

Spending Other People's Money

Thursday was such a delightful day! We met again at the Alameda County Arts Commission to pick out the pieces of art work we thought we would work well for the space which was getting them. Three of the members of our committee were from the department that was getting the work. There was one other artist and then a member from the Arts Commission Board, who happens to be the chair of the art department at California State University East Bay. It was fun meeting him.

We walked in to the room which had lots and lots of art work. It was not all for us to look at as another agency was buying $60,000 worth, another agency had some money also, and, we found out our budget had been increased by $1000 so we now had $3500 to spend on art.

We saw all of the pieces that had registered highly on our voting from three weeks ago. What an interesting process. First we viewing them all, kept notes for ourselves (basically voting on them), had lunch and then started deciding which pieces we actually wanted to consider and which we absolutely did not want. That got the pile of 120 pieces down and we eventually settled on five pieces of art from three different artists. I tried mightily to get them to chose two woven pieces which were just stunning. But, the pieces that were chosen were all abstract and very different. The three guys from the agency took the opinions of the other artist and myself and carefully considered what we had to say. We were there to give voice to an artistic sense of worth, not just if we liked something, so issues of color, complexity of design, and composition were more important to us.

We ended up spending $3900 (we pleaded for an extra $400 to allow us to buy one very special abstract piece). What fun that was!

Now I know exactly what will be happening when the two calls for works are reviewed which I responded to. One is for commissions for a Sobering Center to do several pieces (there is a lot of money there) and the arts commission reserves a certain amount for emerging artists (which I was two years ago when they bought 4 pieces of my work), mid-career (which is what I am now) and I've forgotten what they called the last category. That work would be the most expensive and they would probably pick up only a couple of pieces from that last group.

1 comment:

Gerrie said...

What a great experience. It is also wonderful to know that there are local governments spending money on good art from local artists.