In response to Michael Cromley‘s letter on “Petoskey‘s coolness gap“ (Letters 1/29) I have a few points to bring up.
Who is being “controlled“???
Answer: No one.
Petoskey Contemporary Arts Group is merely a group of middle-aged self-called “contemporary“ artists (if you can call making art that is painfully derivative of the last 80 years of art history‘s output “contemporary“) that includes as charter members at least two disgruntled former staff members of the Crooked Tree Arts Center. (aka: the thinly-veiled accused “controllers“ of a recent “restoration“
drive and the oh-so-scary maintainers of the (gasp) “status quo.“)
Get over yourselves! All of you (including the husbands and wives and boyfriends and girlfriends of the artists)!
This “group“ has had the gall to attack, malign, and spread lies and rumors
about a local gem of an arts center, EVEN as group members have in the past made a living as full-time staff, had a two-person show of “contemporary“ works (Len Cowgill and Jesse Hickman -2002) and at one time or another (even currently) made part of their living as instructors of classes, workshops, and designers at Crooked Tree.
How anyone can cast the Crooked Tree Arts Center as “The Man“ that is “controlling“ anyone‘s arts output is beyond ridiculous- it is comically sad.
No one has “control“ unless you give it to them, (assuming they want it!)
I guess this group needs someone or some thing to rant and rail against in order to feel “edgy,“ “cool,“ and valid? Come on!
Artists do not have to be depressed, funny-looking, angry Green Party members eating a lacto-ovo-vegetarian diet, while perusing leftist pamphlets (or vote Democrat) to be VALID.
What they SHOULD do is invest all that nervous energy ON MAKING ART instead
of wasting it on being indignant for no good reason other than to prop up their damaged egos from some IMAGINED repression by an IMAGINED “CONTROLLER“ (preferably QUALITY works that will show off their talent to the hilt!).
Oh yeah- forget the “Cool Cities“ crapola -- can‘t anyone see through Governor Granholm‘s PR lameness? Even the name is dorky!
The Petoskey area is not “controlled.“ Petoskey is a small resort town on Lake Michigan in the Midwest. Nice place, but small potatoes in the arts world.
We have an amazing regional award-winning arts center that introduces the arts to kids and provides opportunities (most at NO COST) to many who have had little or no arts exposure in schools because it is ALWAYS the first thing to go in budget crises.
It is not meant to be an Arts Center OF THE WORLD. That‘s New York City.
Want that? Go there! Lots of art, and lots of things to get angry about -- real things!
If you wanted a press release -- it is easier to do than that self-righteous
drivel you wrote. You just write up the who, when, what, and where... and submit it to the local press. You do not have to talk smack and build up while you tear down.
Oh yeah -- did I say get over yourselves?
Neil W. Ahrens, MFA- Cranbrook Academy of Art Boyne City
Contemporary cool in Petoskey
I belong to an interesting group of visual artists here in Petoskey. We banded together just over a year ago after being frustrated by the established art groups in our area that take a country club approach to art.
We named our group Petoskey Contemporary Arts. We don‘t own or rent a building, we don‘t ask for donations or apply for grants. Our members range in age from 20 to 70. There are 10 core members, but our shows have included up to 30 guest artists. We put no restrictions on what may be exhibited. We held three exhibitions last year and paid for them ourselves.
So far, our shows have been well received with each reception attracting 200 -300 people, even in the dead of winter. We also have included the Petoskey Theater Group to stage dance performances during the run of exhibitions, and held poetry readings. Our shows are all open to the public and are free of charge.
We are especially proud of our second exhibition. It was a Mail Art show that included collaborations of over 30 artists and two high school art groups. The works were all sold in auction at the reception, all proceeds donated directly to four area charities, including the Womens Resource Center and the Manna Project.
I feel our small group is a prime example of the Cool Cities concept, where ordinary people make things happen without government assistance or interference; where money is not the goal or the standard for success. Our next exhibition, “Seeing Red,“ will be held at the Harbor Wear Gallery in the Gaslight District of Petoskey. The opening reception will be Saturday, February 7, from 6 to 9 p.m. I hope you or a representative of the Express will stop by and see what we‘re doing.
You and the Northern Express do a great job of getting alternative information to the public -- an invaluable service. Thank you.
Len Cowgill Petoskey Contemporary Arts
How to survive
In the article “Reach for the Moon“ (Random Thoughts 1/22), I agree that it‘s a great idea, but disagree with the statement, “extinction is the fate of all species
confined to an island.“
The key to survival of any species on any island is to stay in balance with the biosphere. In other words, the population of the species must always stay at or below the limits of food and the recycling of waste, etc.
Cockroaches and crocodiles have survived for millions of years because they were forced to obey the laws of the biosphere.
People are the only species that has the capability to control their environment, so we have a chance to survive. But we are so arrogant that our way of thinking, our politics, our philosophies and our religions either explicitly or implicitly state that we are the chosen ones, we are privileged.
The State of the Union speech was and example of our arrogance. I was very disappointed in the State of the Union speech; conservation was only mentioned once, and no mention of coming problems.
People are unique, but we are not privileged.
The longer I live the more agitated I am becoming. We must change our way of thinking and our lifestyles if we are to survive. We must control our population, our energy use, etc. We must learn and obey the laws of the biosphere or all else is an exercise in futility.
The World Health Organization recently estimated the world population at 6.6 billion and the population will be greater than 8 billion in five years. According to my calculations, to feed that many people will be the first major test of our survivability. Also in five years we will be going into a sun spot maximum. Major droughts tend to occur in the years around a sun spot maximum. Along with global warming, if we have a major drought, we will be forced to change our diet plus some other things. When these changes become apparent, we will crash our economy because markets are driven by perception. Markets worry about what will happen next.
Our country has done little to help the rest of the world bring its population under control. We don‘t have much time and our resources are limited, so space will have to wait. If we don‘t start soon, it will be too late.
I have more concerns which I expressed in my book “Thoughts of a Systems Analyst,“ especially in my thought “Tsunami.“ My book is available at Horizon Books in the business section or you can read it online at my web site. Click on “Thoughts“ and page down to “Tsunami“ and
click on it at http://my.freeway.net/~rrriker
Richard R. Riker via email