September 27, 2012

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Using tourists to educate locals, for example. Downtown developers in the 1980s strategically looked to the Tennessee Aquarium’s success with tourists to convince locals that downtown could be fun and safe. Burch sees a huge market for art tourism targeting people who understand that Chattanooga has high quality but underpriced work by local artists. He recently hosted friends from New York who “stocked up” on art from Rachel Collins’ Gallery 301 because they were used to paying four to five times as much for similar quality work in the northeast.

Burch also talks about strategically priming the market. Rather than subsidizing artistic creation through public commissions, he said he’d rather see municipalities and foundations investing in galleries that can market a broad swath of art while educating buyers. That sounds remarkably like what GreenSpaces has done so effectively to educate local builders on green building techniques and Gaining Ground is doing for local food.

“I don’t think we’re thinking big enough here,” he said. “We have thought big as a city—the Aquarium, the 21st Century Waterfront—and the economic impact has been substantial. We could do same thing in the arts.”


September 27, 2012

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article by Rich Bailey on Emerson Burch

I admire Burch's active and philosophical approach to developing a wholistic, creative environment in which to support a visual arts community. As a dance artist and educator, I find that there is no common point in which to open a discussion on the art form of dance. Even with other artists from other fields, I can engage in conversation regarding their art forms but when the tables turn to my art form, they have no experience or education in which to conduct a conversation. I believe what is necessary is creating a structure of understanding and belonging. Now, how to do that...

Ann Law more than 1 years ago

artish making ends meet

It is difficult trying to make ends meet here in Chattanooga. As a visual artist who's focus is theatre arts, the community is too small to really sustain me. Fortunately, it is easier when having another job to help make ends meet. What's difficult is when I am in production putting in 30-40+ hours, but need that pastry job to make ends meet when the show starts its run. Nobody should have to work 50-60 hours a week to make ends meet.

dottie may more than 1 years ago

Great Article

Thanks for the great article, Rich. Nicely done!

And just to clarify, I am completely on-board with public art and commissions (love, love, love)... I would just like to see us, as a city use a different mix of strategies that focus on targeted economic engine creation that reduces artist dependency on grant-seeking, which would even make our amazing granting system, like MakeWork and others really help those who are exceptionally challenged market-wise.

Emerson Burch more than 1 years ago

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