Can art save cities? was the title of the ArtPrize panel discussion last night at the Ladies Literary Club. This discussion was between three of the guest jurors who have been invited to our city to bring heft and discernment into the kind of crazy all over the place urban experiment that is ArtPrize. There were a lot of big ideas and visionary art projects shared from the stage from these people. It became obvious from the insights they shared that they have thought hard and long about how to make art relevant and powerful enough to evoke real change in our current time. I rode home on my bike from the talk with old friend and colleague Paul Wittenbraker. We rode through the night with our bike lights shining side by side on a newly designated bike path going over the talk we had just shared in. This attempt at a poem comes from last night's bike ride conversation.
Can cities save art?
Can artists learn to talk with people who do not know they are artists?
Can artists be more than the pretty girl jumping out of the cake?
Can we be honest about where our cities are not working?
Can we be honest about who we have left out of the conversation?
Can we forget about money for awhile?
Can we take time to let our hearts be broken one more time?
Can we all learn to listen a little bit better?
Can we find a way to bring artists together that does not include competing to win a prize?
Can we rethink what we mean with the words Art and Save?
Can cities save artists from themselves?