Sunday, October 15, 2006

Arts, artists, New York and London

When I first came in NY, I was staying in a guest house in Queens. It was small and cosy and I met very many interesting, weird and fun people. From Swedish travellers on "a year-around-the-world plane ticket" to the Japanese artist Yuko who was exhibiting in a Chelsea gallery and who invited me to go and, in reality, initiated my very early relationship with the NYC creative world.

New York is a creative place. There are numerous lofts turned creative studios, exhibition rooms, galleries and even more creative festivals, events, openings and launches. But so is London. The difference between the two is that, well, to my knowledge creative professionals have far more support in London by local or government agencies than New Yorkers.

But I don't want to be political or to lookout for the reasons. During my six weeks in New York City I noticed that despite the number of creative people and activities, the NYC department of arts/cultural affairs is almost absent. I went to a few Chelsea gallery openings - all private, artists seem to be independent, with an agent or with a corporate sponsor. I visited the excellent (and wine friendly) DUMBO's First Thursday event in Brooklyn. This event was sponsored by Two Trees Management Co. and the New York Magazine. Today's buzzy DUMBO Art under the bridge festival in Brooklyn was funded, in part, by public funds from the NYC department of cultural affairs and the NY State Council on the Arts Film and Media Program. Numerous were the corporate sponsors though. The Village Voice, RR Frames and Rice to name just a few.

Should arts be funded by governments or by private/corporate sponsors? That will always be a hot topic. I don't really have the answer. All I know is that creative professionals need help. If this support will come from the government, the local authorities or corporate sponsors is probably the subject of an article, a book or another blog that will follow soon!

Did you know...?

Gallery opening in Blooklyn, NYC: Friday, 10/20, @AG Gallery103 N.3rd Street, Ground Fl., Brooklyn, NY11211

This week in Blooklyn, NYC: Bushwick Open Studios - Saturday 10/21, from 1pm to 8pm: Visit their website at

For Information junkies: First Thursday features area galleries and artists' studios open from 5.30 pm to 8.30 pm, on the first Thursday of each month.