Tag Archives: IFCC

Scatters revisited: Let’s play catch-up

Art Students and Copyists in the Louvre Gallery (for Harper's Weekly), 1868, wood engraving, National Gallery of Art, Washington, D.C.

Art Scatter is considering a new motto: All the news that fits, comes back to bite you again.

Maybe it’s not as elegant as the New York Times’s All the news that’s fit to print or as slobberingly juvenile as The Onion’s Tu Stultus Es (translation from the Latin: You Are Stupid). But we seem to be getting pingback, and we are not referring simply to those odd “comments” that pop up semi-regularly from online hucksters selling axle grease or whoopie cushions. (Mr. Scatter attempts to zap those into oblivion before our readers have a chance to see them, unless the links are unusually entertaining, such as the one that seemed to translate this post into some unknown language and back to English again, transposing “large smelly boys” into “vast sharp boys” and “Portland public schools” into “Portland open propagandize system.”) Stories don’t always end when the writer thinks they do. So consider this a chance to revisit some of our recent hits, with updates and amplifications:


COPY CATS: In our recent musings on the value of museums (we had worked ourselves into something of a dither, a century late, over the idiocies of the Futurist Manifesto, which called for abolishing them) we tossed in this aside: “Why are our young artists not haunting the halls of the museums? Rarely – almost never – do you see someone set up with easel and paints in a Portland Art Museum gallery, copying the masters to learn their techniques, a sight that is common in European museums.”

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Recession blues: IFCC shuts down

Actor Daniel Beaty in 2008's "Resurrection" at IFCC

Bad news often breaks on Friday afternoons, and today is no exception: The Interstate Firehouse Cultural Center is shutting its doors.

The Oregonian’s D.K. Row has the story on Oregon Live; expect him to explore it in greater depth soon.

Interstate Firehouse Cultural CenterThe city-run Portland Parks & Recreation, which owns the old firehouse and its grounds, announced that the non-profit IFCC’s board has voted to cease operations because of persistent deficits, in spite of decent attendance at events.

The center’s failure is a blow to Portland’s alternative and multicultural arts scenes. Over the years IFCC has had its ups and downs, but since it began in 1982 it’s been a welcoming space for emerging theater and dance companies, visual artists, musicians, and community events. Artists who often felt shut out of downtown spaces found a congenial home here, as did North and Northeast Portland residents who discovered the joys of having a vital art center close to home.

The shutdown takes effect May 1, but existing rental contracts through June 30 will be honored. That means, presumably, that upcoming shows by Rose City Vaudeville and Vagabond Opera, as well as IFCC’s share of Disjecta‘s Portland2010 biennial art exhibit, will go on as planned.

IFCC’s problems reflect the difficulties that the prolonged international economic crisis presents to cultural organizations, especially small and midsized ones. Put simply, everyone’s strapped for cash, and traditional sources are either tapped out or stretched thin. IFCC’s budget is built on just 20 percent earned income, the rest coming from foundation, corporate, individual and government grants. For everyone, those are getting tougher and tougher to nail down.

Read the parks department’s press release after the jump:

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Aesthetic politics: Obama, Dewey, Potter, IFCC

Last night, watching the primary results roll in (and a strange Gregory Peck movie on Turner Movie Classics), I was struck yet again by the John Dewey in Barack Obama’s victory speech. I know, I know: I’ve managed to locate Dewey in just about everything. I didn’t post about it, but I even detected him in Dark Horse Comics chief Mike Richardson in his speech at the Stumptown Comic Fest. Richardson was terrific, by the way. So maybe I’m monomaniacal on this subject, as obsessive readers of Art Scatter already know.

Dewey and Obama. It has to do with process. Embedded within this speech and all of the others that I’ve heard Obama give (not a VERY large number), he tells you how he thinks he is going to bring about the change he talks about (to health care, foreign policy, education, etc.). He believes that Americans want their problems solved and are “looking for honest answers about the problems we face.” He believes they have the capacity to understand when they hear something that makes sense. He thinks they are ready to sit down and listen. And he is committed to “telling the truth — forcefully, repeatedly, confidently — and by trusting that the American people will embrace the need for change.” Not just the American people, either, because his foreign policy is built on the same process: talk. And he describes what he thinks freezes our process now — “I trust the American people’s desire to no longer be defined by our differences” — and why he thinks we can change, the hopes we have in common. And all of this is straight out of the American Pragmatism playbook.
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