Saturday, January 10, 2009

Cultural Alliance Invitation

A few weeks back i worked myself up into one of my spastic little tizzies about a local art organization in Milwaukee (the cultural alliance). Apparently this outbusrt was articulate enough to get the attention of someone other than anonymous posters armed with childish insults, though I did get some of that too.

Anyway, seems like some interesting discussions followed, publically and privately. My conclusion is that there's a viscious cycle in the Milwaukee community (and probably most American communities) where big well funded arts organizations overlook many committed valuable artists, then the artists get bitter and defeated, start drinking and stop producing much art, then the big orgs see this and feel justified in continuing to ignore artists, which bolsters the artist's victimization complex and alchoholism, which feeds back into the big arts organizations isolation, etc. etc. It's a mutually reinforcing cycle of useless shittyness.

People have tried to break this cycle (most notably Mike Brenner and the other founders of MARN, but also so many others). Unfortunately, these people get sucked into the cycle, or get burned out fighting against it. If we're going to ever defeat this cycle, anyone who wants Milwaukee to be a thriving, growing art community needs to jump at whatever opportunities come about that might break a crack in it.

One such opportunity is fast approaching. The GMC, Cultural Alliance and UWM are holding a "Cultural NonProfit Forum on Creative Community" later this month. Perhaps inspired by some of the above mentioned discussions, this is an attempt to open February's "Creative Summit" to a broader selection of voices, including yours. I met with Christine Harris last week and I beleive that at least she is genuinely interested in getting representatives of all parts of the Milwaukee creative community at the table for this Summit. The dumb assholes who think Milwaukee's problems will be solved by simply eliminating the bottom third of all arts orgs will be at the summit. If the bottom third doesn't show up at this Forum cuz we're too depressed, or lazy, or hung over, then there's not going to be anyone at the Summit to counter that argument.

Here's the details, sign up ASAP! Be there! I hear there will also be one the day after (27th) in the evening, for those of us who have day jobs and use up all our vacation time touring the D I Y punk circuit. Go to one of these forums, if you don't, then the terrorists- i mean... the corporate art beaurocrats win!


On behalf of the Greater Milwaukee Committee, the Cultural Alliance of Greater Milwaukee and the UWM Center for Urban Initiatives and Research, you are invited to participate in a dialogue with other nonprofit cultural leaders about the future of the creative community in southeastern Wisconsin.

Monday, January 26, 2009
7:45 registration
8:15AM – 11:45AM session
Italian Community Center, 631 E. Chicago St.

This dialogue is designed as an open Forum in anticipation of the Greater Milwaukee Committee's Creative Summit, which will be held in early February, 2009. The purpose of the GMC's Creative Summit is to outline a vision for our region's creative community across the nonprofit and for-profit sectors of the economy, along with creating a roadmap to guide the way. The GMC Summit is intended to initiate a dedicated and community-wide process of fostering a stronger creative region. Invitations to the Summit will be going out from the GMC in early January. For more information on the background for the Summit, please read the GMC's Cultural Asset Inventory of the Milwaukee 7 Region as reported by the Cultural Alliance at

The Forum will be open to the first 120 registrants who can attend the entire event. The purpose of the Forum is to ensure that those participating in the Creative Summit will have a richer and deeper understanding of the unique and powerful contributions of the nonprofit cultural arts community in a broader creative economy. The input gathered in this Forum will be directly utilized by the Summit gathering. After a brief introduction to the Summit process, Forum participants will engage in roundtable discussions around a selected list of questions along with general discussion. All information gathered at the Forum will be attributed anonymously, and will be collated for distribution at the Summit.

Please Note: This invitation is intended for the recipient only. If you cannot attend and have a strong recommendation on who should take your place, please contact the Cultural Alliance at

If you have any questions, please contact us.

Thanks for the work you do in serving our community.



Matt said...

So the public is allowed to attend? How does one get access, do we just show up and first come first serve? The Cultural Alliance web site has no information on this event. Any info would be helpful.

BeckT said...

you email the Cultural Alliance at, and tell them you'd like to attend.

Rex Winsome said...

Matt, do as Becky says.

here's the details on the evening one, sent out on MARN's listserv which it seems anyone can simply attend without registering.

MARN and Walker's Point Center for the Arts (WPCA) will be hosting a
listening session with the Cultural Alliance. This is in response to
the recent active discussion on the MARN listserv concerning the
Cultural Alliance and their activities. You'll hear more about them
and they'd like to hear more about you and your concerns as artists.
I encourage anyone who has an interest in the landscape of the arts/
culture in Milwaukee to attend, I anticipate it being a evening
filled with great discussion (that we'll actually get to do in person.)

Date: Tuesday, January 27
Time: 6:00 pm
Place: Walker's Point Center for the Arts, 911 W. National Ave.,

Refreshments will be served.

Thanks so much!!

Melissa Dorn Richards

Milwaukee Artist Resource Network, Inc. (MARN)
PO Box 713
Milwaukee, WI 53201
414/433-1900 p
414/433-1900 f

Mike Brenner said...
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