As artists continue to reel from the news that the Minnesota State Arts Board can no longer fund out of state travel, TC Daily Planet arts writer Jay Gabler says he’s more surprised by how the decision went down in the state legislature.
In a recent commentary Gabler said that “for a state that prides itself on having a strong arts scene, in this instance Minnesotans acted like people who think that making art is a complete waste of time and money.”
Yes, let’s call this what it is: artist shaming. This directive came down because Minnesotans, when told that artists who say travel is important to their careers are full of s**t, believed it. This change happened because Minnesotans, when told that any means of evaluating artistic merit is completely arbitrary and shouldn’t be taken seriously, agreed. This change happened because Minnesotans, hearing the suggestion that artists at the highest levels are essentially conspiring to hook each other up with state funds on the basis of the fictional concept of “furthering their artistic careers” (that must be a fictional concept, since apparently all art is arbitrary, so how can an artistic career be “furthered”?), said amen, cut ’em off!
If we really don’t trust the Minnesota State Arts Board to make defensible decisions regarding arts funding, then let’s have a discussion about that and dismantle it. If, however, we do trust the MSAB—and I think that having recently passed the Legacy Amendment, we do—let’s allow them to do the job we assembled them to do and not allow knee-jerk artist-shamers to throw tacks under their tires.
You can read the full commentary here.