Sunday, March 04, 2007
ArtPort: popular art exhibit's request for funds and dates repeatedly put off by Shreveport Airport Authority, says Kalmbach
Dear Artport Artists,
We sincerely apologize for all of the stop-and-go confusion surrounding this year's Artport. Many of you have called to ask when or if it is going to happen this year and we haven't been able to give you a definitive answer. The following is a brief summary of our efforts over the past year.
For the past nine months we have tried in vain to come to an agreement with the Shreveport Regional Airport. Citing everything from new board members to Hollywood movies, our exposition continues to be placed on the back burner. They requested early on that we make a formal presentation to the Airport Authority board of directors as to the value of Artport. Every time we get closer to making our case, we get pushed back another month. Most recently, we were confirmed to make a presentation at the February 15th Authority meeting and, for unspecified reasons, were denied that opportunity.
Basically we are again asking the Airport for $10,000 to cover the opening event's food, beverages, linens and a few incidentals. We raise an additional $20,000 from artists and patrons to pay for the full color catalogs, advertising, invitations, etc. Kalmbach Smith Meadows donates an additional $10,000 worth of organizational time, graphic design, public relations and art direction. Volunteers help install the event at no additional cost.
We are frustrated on several levels, most notably the fact that we have to make a case to the airport for an event that has been proven, over twelve installments, as a valuable asset to the facility and the community. Claiming budget constraints and an overly busy schedule, they are making us work harder than ever to prove the event worthy. Beyond that, we feel we've been ignored concerning the commitment made to the artists, as well as the Philadelphia Center which relies heavily on fund raisers such as this to carry on its charitable mission. Without answers and commitments from the Shreveport Regional Airport, we cannot finalize the Artport plans even though we have been very flexible in trying to conform to their calendar.
We send this letter out to each of you to share ideas for other options and venues, as well as to provide an open forum for feedback and recommendations. We can assure you, Artport will not be grounded much longer. Nor will we continue to be left on hold indefinitely. You have your canvases. You have your tiles. Many of you have completed your works of art. Now we need a venue to raise money and awarness of your talent.
One idea tossed around is to move Artport from the airport. We'd have a grand opening exhibition somewhere for a few weeks (Art Space, The Barnwell?) then move the art to hospitals around the community. Highland Clinic and LSU Medical Center have been approached. Since the pieces are uniform in size, they could be easily rotated after a predetermined amount of time. Another idea is to tie Artport into the Philadelphia's Annual Auction Against AIDS held in early August, and do the same rotating show around the community. Our mission has always been to bring the artistic talents of our local and regional artists to the community-at-large. Any of these options will strongly support that effort.
We need to move quickly on this. Please get back to us via email or mail with your thoughts and suggestions. Your opinions are very valuable to us.