JOHNSON CITY (February 27, 2013) – Twenty years ago, most en masse conversations about art occurred at private soirees at the homes and galleries of the elite of New York, Los Angeles, London or Paris. Now, they occur daily – throughout each day – on social media, online chats or webcasts. Twenty years ago, it was difficult to find success as a visual artist without being geographically near these conversations and influential people. Today, the landscape is quite different.
To discuss the changes, challenges and opportunities of being an artist living outside the main art hubs, East Tennessee State University’s Mary B. Martin School of the Arts and Department of Art and Design are presenting a unique gathering of visual art professionals in a free public panel discussion dubbed the “Outer Regions” Saturday, March 2, at 6:30 p.m. in the Ball Hall auditorium. A reception in Slocumb Galleries will follow the public discussion.
The Outer Regions panel will feature: Emma Balazs, director of Visual Arts at Columbia University; Sarrita Hunn, co-founder and editor of Temporary Art Review; Adelheid Mers, Arts Administration and Policy faculty member at The School of the Art Institute of Chicago; and Joey Orr, an Arts & Sciences (doctoral) Fellow at Emory University. ETSU art faculty member Mira Gerard will moderate the discussion.
“We wanted to have a forum that included students, faculty and anyone from the community who is interested,” says Andrew Scott Ross, co-organizer and ETSU art faculty member. “It was an essential part of us wanting to put this together – the opportunity to have professionals address working as an artist outside of major metropolises – and for faculty and students to have a really dynamic and really comfortable conversation amongst each other about that … and we wanted to share it with the community.
“We know we have faculty and graduate students who are invested in it, then artists in the community and people organizing and curating in museums who are invested in culture in the community. We think it will be good for the community and lead to a lot of other discussions.”
These professionals will bring different perspectives on being regional artists from their own various experiences and locales, says Anita DeAngelis, director of Mary B. Martin School of the Arts and art faculty member.
“I think our general public is aware we don’t live in a major city,” she says. “ETSU is a regional institution and we are a smaller suburban city, so what does that mean? How do we function in the larger world, especially in this time when our economy, our educational opportunities, so many things are global. Understanding what it means to be a regional artist or an artist working in a particular region is important.
“Our community is also very much aware that a lot of significant artists have come from outer regions and still are coming from outer regions. This is a little bit in-house. There are more benefits directly for ETSU students but we also wanted to have an opportunity for other people to come interact with these four individuals."
Four roundtable discussions on the preceding day, for and with ETSU students and faculty, will home in on such topics as how technology and social media are creating opportunities and dialogs; how artists’ locations affect their output; how innovative institutions are beneficial for artists outside the hubs; and how artists are experimenting with lifestyles in remote locations. The public panel discussion should serve as a summary and overview of the preceding day's discussions and findings, says Ross, and generate new conversations as a fitting conclusion to the weekend activities.
The changes in creating, displaying and discussing art engendered by the Internet will likely be a key topic, says panel discussion moderator and painting professor Mira Gerard.
“It’s like a whole other world than when I was a student,” she said. “I would always go to the library to do research about contemporary art. It wasn’t at my fingertips, where I could click a couple times and get to the front page of the New York Times or any number of art magazines in a matter of seconds.
“We are in a time when more and more artists, because of the Internet, are exposed to more people making art from different places in different ways. In my own life, I have made some very good friends through social media and then met them in person. I met a friend in LA through Facebook and now am working with her on a project. My students can be on Facebook with someone like (New York art critic) Jerry Saltz and curators and artists around the world. It’s sort of a leveling field.”
For information about the public panel discussion and roundtable discussions, contact organizers Vanessa Mayoraz at firstname.lastname@example.org or Andrew Scott Ross at email@example.com.
For information regarding the Mary B. Martin School of the Arts, call 423-439-TKTS (8587) or visit www.etsu.edu/cas/arts. "Like" ETSU Mary B. Martin School of the Arts on Facebook and Follow it on Twitter at TheArtsAtETSU.