At City Performance Hall last night, Mayor Mike Rawlings led a panel discussion about the future of the arts in Dallas, part of his #DallasArtsWeek initiative. All the panelists - Dallas Museum of Art director Maxwell L. Anderson, Dallas Theater Center artistic director Kevin Moriarty, filmmaker and Oak Cliff Film Festival co-founder Eric Steele, local record producer John Kirtland and Oliver Francis Gallery owner Kevin Ruben Jacobs - were white and male. So much for the future of women and minorities in the arts, said the awkward visual, which only Anderson acknowledged (to loud applause and whistles from the audience).
"Instead of another [Klyde Warren Park], use that money to start the careers of 50 filmmakers," said the Texas Theater's Eric Steele.
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The purpose of the 75-minute chat, Rawlings said, was to talk about how Dallas can attract more artists -- the mayor called them "human capital," thus reducing them to something sounding like slave labor -- and convince them to stay. His solution was a typically business-oriented three-part plan: first, "build great edifices" (like the City Performance Hall, Wyly Theatre and Winspear); second, find good people to operate the big, new buildings; and third, finally get around to working on convincing those who make the art, the plays and the music to come to Dallas and create stuff.
It's the "if we build it, they will come" model. Which doesn't work with artists, who don't much like traveling in herds and don't get to work in those fancy "edifices" until they've been invited. Young or old, artists go where they can afford to live and make their art without starving.More »