At times, I have felt bashful about my father's high brow academic posts. This was dumb. My pops is the Founder of Consensus Building Institute (CBI), Professor at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, and Vice-Chair for Instruction at the Program on Negotiation at Harvard Law School. His belief in and actions towards social change beyond the horizon runs deep. My bashfulness was because I was confusing the the class privileges I enjoy as a result of the fruits of his labor, with the broad-minded and engaged research and practice he has pioneered for the last 40 years. I have a unique opportunity as the art-making daughter of an urban planning expert. Driving home from the airport on my last visit to New England, my pops and I got to talking, as we do, about Baltimore, urban development, economics, and art making.
I think that for artists, the non-profit status quo continues negative cycles of artist dependency and in-sustainability. I would rather call it what is is, and have a rich benefactor. I am also wary of how Baltimore City understands the role of artists as promotional mechanism. But hey, what could be more transparent than pairing "Promotion & The Arts" in the same city office title? It makes perfect sense as a solution to the recurring paradox of valuing Artin a neo-liberal industrial capitalist world.
"Nobody wants to think of themselves as the reason that someone else gets to make a lot of money. What usually happens is that a developer makes a deal with the city, gets the required approvals (while admittedly taking the necessary financial risks), finds the investment capital they need and then announces to the arts community that there will be some opportunities they might appreciate. When a dance company or a community arts center (future gallery?) wants to design the space being offered, they are usually told that the deal has already been made and that the specs are locked in. When artists ask whether there are low interest loans available to buy what is otherwise being offered only as rental space, they are told that the deal with the city requires that the housing units or the commercial space not be sold (meaning that they want the continued return to capital). In other words, by the time the arts community is notified it is too late to alter the design of the space and no longer possible for the artists involved to become equity (or sweat equity) partners.