Letters 10-24-2016

It’s Obama’s 1984 Several editions ago I concluded a short letter to the editor with an ominous rhetorical flourish: “Welcome to George Orwell’s 1984 and the grand opening of the Federal Department of Truth!” At the time I am sure most of the readers laughed off my comments as right-wing hyperbole. Shame on you for doubting me...

Gun Bans Don’t Work It is said that mass violence only happens in the USA. A lone gunman in a rubber boat, drifted ashore at a popular resort in Tunisia and randomly shot and killed 38 mostly British and Irish tourists. Tunisian gun laws, which are among the most restrictive in the world, didn’t stop this mass slaughter. And in January 2015, two armed men killed 11 and wounded 11 others in an attack on the French satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo. French gun laws didn’t stop these assassins...

Scripps’ Good Deed No good deed shall go unpunished! When Dan Scripps was the 101st District State Representative, he introduced legislation to prevent corporations from contaminating (e.g. fracking) or depleting (e.g. Nestle) Michigan’s water table for corporate profit. There are no property lines in the water table, and many of us depend on private wells for abundant, safe, clean water. In the subsequent election, Dan’s opponents ran a negative campaign almost solely on the misrepresentation that Dan’s good deed was a government takeover of your private water well...

Political Definitions As the time to vote draws near it’s a good time to check into what you stand for. According to Dictionary.com the meanings for liberal and conservative are as follows:

Liberal: Favorable to progress or reform as in political or religious affairs.

Conservative: Disposed to preserve existing conditions, institutions, etc., or to restore traditions and limit change...

Voting Takes A Month? Hurricane Matthew hit the Florida coast Oct. 6, over three weeks before Election Day. Bob Ross (Oct. 17th issue) posits that perhaps evacuation orders from Governor Scott may have had political motivations to diminish turnout and seems to praise Hillary Clinton’s call for Gov. Scott to extend Florida’s voter registration deadline due to evacuations...

Clinton Foundation Facts Does the Clinton Foundation really spend a mere 10 percent (per Mike Pence) or 20 percent (per Reince Priebus) of its money on charity? Not true. Charity Watch gives it an A rating (the same as it gives the NRA Foundation) and says it spends 88 percent on charitable causes, and 12 percent on overhead. Here is the source of the misunderstanding: The Foundation does give only a small percentage of its money to charitable organizations, but it spends far more money directly running a number of programs...

America Needs Change Trump supports our constitution, will appoint judges that will keep our freedoms safe. He supports the partial-birth ban; Hillary voted against it. Regardless of how you feel about Trump, critical issues are at stake. Trump will increase national security, monitor refugee admissions, endorse our vital military forces while fighting ISIS. Vice-presidential candidate Mike Pence will be an intelligent asset for the country. Hillary wants open borders, increased government regulation, and more demilitarization at a time when we need strong military defenses...

My Process For No I will be voting “no” on Prop 3 because I am supportive of the process that is in place to review and approve developments. I was on the Traverse City Planning Commission in the 1990s and gained an appreciation for all of the work that goes into a review. The staff reviews the project and makes a recommendation. The developer then makes a presentation, and fellow commissioners and the public can ask questions and make comments. By the end of the process, I knew how to vote for a project, up or down. This process then repeats itself at the City Commission...

Regarding Your Postcard If you received a “Vote No” postcard from StandUp TC, don’t believe their lies. Prop 3 is not illegal. It won’t cost city taxpayers thousands of dollars in legal bills or special elections. Prop 3 is about protecting our downtown -- not Munson, NMC or the Commons -- from a future of ugly skyscrapers that will diminish the very character of our downtown...

Vote Yes It has been suggested that a recall or re-election of current city staff and Traverse City Commission would work better than Prop 3. I disagree. A recall campaign is the most divisive, costly type of election possible. Prop 3, when passed, will allow all city residents an opportunity to vote on any proposed development over 60 feet tall at no cost to the taxpayer...

Yes Vote Explained A “yes” vote on Prop 3 will give Traverse City the right to vote on developments over 60 feet high. It doesn’t require votes on every future building, as incorrectly stated by a previous letter writer. If referendums are held during general elections, taxpayers pay nothing...

Beware Trump When the country you love have have served for 33 years is threatened, you have an obligation and a duty to speak out. Now is the time for all Americans to speak out against a possible Donald Trump presidency. During the past year Trump has been exposed as a pathological liar, a demagogue and a person who is totally unfit to assume the presidency of our already great country...

Picture Worth 1,000 Words Nobody disagrees with the need for affordable housing or that a certain level of density is dollar smart for TC. The issue is the proposed solution. If you haven’t already seen the architect’s rendition for the site, please Google “Pine Street Development Traverse City”...

Living Wage, Not Tall Buildings Our community deserves better than the StandUp TC “vote no” arguments. They are not truthful. Their yard signs say: “More Housing. Less Red Tape. Vote like you want your kids to live here.” The truth: More housing, but for whom? At what price..

Home · Articles · News · Art · Paint it Black: Ignorant Art Show of...
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Paint it Black: Ignorant Art Show of Emerging Artists Benefits Boys & Girls Club

Rick Coates - October 21st, 2004
Works of art surround us throughout the day. Even if you are unaware of it, or should we say “ignorant” to its existence. It is around just take a moment and look. In fact as you’re looking for art and your eyes gaze past a stranger or even a colleague you may have spotted a painter again unaware or ignorant to the fact that the person in the cubicle next to you or the person making your cappuccino is an artist.
Ryan Wells, who works real estate by day and his art studio by night, is an emerging artist whose co-workers were unaware of his talents. His work doesn’t appear in local galleries, not because it isn’t good enough, but because Wells is part of the “Ignorant Art” assemblage who were not formally trained and whose work doesn’t fit what is considered to be in the mainstream.
So what better way to exhibit his art than create a show with fellow unknown artists in the area in a venue outside the traditional arena for art? That’s exactly what Wells did last May at the encouragement of his sister Meredith Wells Kerr, chief executive officer of the Boys & Girls Club of Grand Traverse. Now the two along with a committee of volunteers have organized another art event Saturday, October 23 in Traverse City.

“I was looking for a fundraiser for the Boys and Girls Club,” said Kerr. “I was talking to my brother about it and saying it would be nice to incorporate his art into it. He agreed as long as it wasn’t some punch, cookies and balloons event. This was really his brainchild.”
Ignorant Art was born May 22, as seven mostly unknown artists displayed their works at Radio Centre on Front Street in TC. There was wine, great food and lots of art all displayed in an unfinished office suite. Wells and Kerr didn’t know how many would show, but after their third trip down to Jack’s to buy wine they knew the event was a success.
“We hoped for 100 -- we really didn’t know what to expect,” said Kerr. “We ended up with close to 300. As fundraisers go this is about as easy as it gets.”
A fundraiser that is easy; tell me more.
“I am use to the traditional style fundraiser, where things are structured from a non-profit standpoint,” said Kerr. “Ryan brought a different perspective then I was accustomed to. Like the concept itself -- he ran the event outside the traditional non-profit scope by focusing solely on the event, not on raising money. The fundraiser was an afterthought. This was a challenge for myself and the board at first but it worked.”
Wells’ key to success was his vision to create an event for the moment and create a buzz around the community by being evasive as to what one should expect out of the evening.
“How many nights do you go out to check out a band, just for that one night?” said Wells. “Well, why can’t visual art be looked at the same way? I wanted an event where it was just one night. It might be the only time you will see some of these works. I also wanted to create something where you have to come to it to find out what is happening.”
Wells focused in on “unknown” artists the last time and plans to do so again this Saturday. He hopes to have 15 artists displaying their works.
“There are a lot of people who don’t want to have their work in a gallery or their work might not fit in the area galleries, so I wanted to create something for them. Not everyone displaying art is selling it, some just want others to see their work or want feedback. Others sold work that night and pieces will be available for purchase at this show.”
While most will be unknown one familiar artist exhibiting work will be photographer Tom Wright. Wright who debuted his rock and roll photography collection last year in Traverse City, will debut some new works, including his photograph of local guitar phenom Brian Schram. Schram is on the verge of releasing his national label debut and went to Wright for an edgier photo to be used on the album cover.

Another important aspect of the evening is black attire.
“We want people to wear black,” said Wells. “This is born out of the Chinese theater tradition of everyone wearing black as to not take away from the performance. The idea of everyone wearing black really helps to keep the focus on the art.”
Kerr agrees.
“This isn’t a fashion show of the latest black styles either,” said Kerr. “Keep it simple, just wear black whether it’s slacks and a turtleneck or a dress. We are not trying to make a fashion statement.”
An afterglow at 310 is planned.
“Jeff Wiltsie was great to us with the food so we approached him about hosting the afterglow,” said Wells of 310’s owner. “He has arranged for a DJ and drink specials so it will give all an opportunity to go and talk about the show afterwards. Plus, with everyone wearing black all in one place it will have people asking questions.”
Like, when the next Ignorant Art show will take place?
“I don’t think about that,” said Wells. “I am tired of all of these ‘first annual’ events. This is the event; you can’t catch it at the second annual, this is it. We did one in the spring and we now have this one. I don’t know if we will do another one. If we do we will let you know.”
In choosing Ignorant Art for the shows name Wells turned a few heads in the traditional art community.
“I had some calls from people who didn’t like the name,” said Wells. “They thought it was offensive and demeaning to the area art community. Once I explained the concept they all came on board and are helping to promote what we are doing.”

Wells came up with the name from a quote used by 1980s graffiti artist Jean-Michel Basquiat. Basquiat described his work as “ignorant art,” a concept of creating art without knowing art history or having any aspirations of creating fine art. For these artists, traditional training and understanding creates what is known as “anxiety of influence,” and might inhibit ones ability to create what already exists within them.
For Wells the concept of “Ignorant Art” works for both creator and the viewer.
“It allows those without any formal training to appreciate art for what it is versus what it isn’t,” said Wells. “It isn’t about being stupid, it is simply about unknowing and there shouldn’t be anything wrong with that from the artists perspective or the viewers.”
Still don’t get it? Don’t worry the only thing you need to get is 12 bucks, some black clothes, and your friends, then just show up. Ignorant Art will be what is happening around town this Saturday, so show up, relax and feel “ignorant” with the rest of us.

Ignorant Art is one night only, Saturday October 23 at Radio Centre in Traverse City (next to the parking ramp across from the Park Place) from 9 to 11 pm. Tickets are $12 and available only the night of the show. Partakers will enjoy art, wines from the Leelanau Peninsula Vintners, craft brews from Shorts Brewery in Bellaire and the musical musings of Jason Kott. 310, who will also host the afterglow with DJ Zest at 11 p.m., will provide an array of appetizers. For additional information on how you might participate contact artist Ryan Wells by e-mail ryandwells@charter.net or by phone (231) 218-9584. Don’t forget to wear black!
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