I used to do obnoxious, absurd surveys on the streets of milwaukee. This was before there was a theatre company, and then during and immediately following a lag in the theatre company's existence (after Tracy and I broke up, but before we knew we still wanted to do theatre together) anyway, current events have led me to do a more serious survey. A case study of art in Milwaukee.
What forms of art interest you?
Where do you get your information about art?
What is the current major exhibition at MAM? (follow ups: did you see it, what'd you think?)
Name a play shown recently in Milwaukee. (follow ups: did you see it? What did you think?)
Name a gallery with a recent exhibition. (follow ups: what artists work was shown? Did you see it? What'd you think?)
Name a visual artist working in Milwaukee. (follow ups: how do you know them? Have you purchased any of their work?)
Name a movie showing at an independent or art-house cinema. (Have you seen it? What'd you think?)
Do you care about art in Milwaukee? (optional follow up: what should be done to improve things?)
So far we've surveyed 22 people at bars or cafes (fuel cafe, and ART bAR) and catagorized respondents into three classifications: Involved, Informed, and Ignorant. Involved people know about and have seen or otherwise participated in more than one form of art on the list. The informed people were able to answer some of the questions but had actually done little more than stumble drunkenly into a gallery, or shown their own work. The Ignorant might have answered one or two questions with some level of accuracy, or seen Batman at the Oriental (which given it's current programming choices obviously CANNOT be classified as an art-house cinema anymore).
almost everyone catagorized as Ignorant replied in the affirmative to the final question (Do you care about art in Milwaukee?) in spite of having just demonstrated the opposite. One group of young men outside Fuel admitted "well, i guess not. Shit."
1 hour ago