Friday, April 3, 2009

A New Assistant Arrives at the Maine Arts Commission

Alison Ferris is the Maine Arts Commission's new Assistant Director. She had a run of 12 years as curtaor of the Bowdoin College Museum of Art before joining the agency.

During those 12 years, Alison specialized in finding creative ways to contextualize contemporary art through the use of the permanent collections and loans, as well as through publications and extensive educational programming.

Alison spoke on her first day:

"I am delighted to have this opportunity to devote my time, energy, and expertise to the Maine Arts Commission. This agency, under the directorship of Donna McNeil, has done inspiring work supporting and advocating for the arts and artists in Maine, and I am proud to be a member of her team. I believe that fostering the human imagination is crucial, especially now that we, as a state and as a nation, must radically re-imagine our future."

If you would like to read the full press release, click the following link,


SMA said...
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SMA said...

As a privately owned small business in the arts, for over fifty years, it is very disturbing to see how "stimulus” funds” are being used. The idea of a “stimulus” is that it stimulates the economy, other wise it should be labeled honestly as “spending”. As far as I have been able to determine, small business (sometimes called “main street”) is supposed to benefit from the “stimulus” funds through the trickle down effect of money spent by entitles that directly receive the funds. The entities that receive direct stimulus funds are banks, businesses that qualify as “too big to fail”, schools”, non-profit organizations, and state governments - all with “stipulations attached” (that is another discussion).
The private economy has to wait until the spending of these other entities trickles down to benefit the private sector- and in that regard, I think the grant deadlines are counter productive to the alleged purpose of the stimulus funds which are supposed to be distributed into the economy quickly. This is a transitional season and the private sector needs those benefits now and so I think the distribution of funds should take place immediately in consideration of the dire economic climate.
I read the mission statement of The Maine Arts Commission but I did not find any mention of a stipulation that says that an organization must be non-profit in order to receive the benefits of our state government arts commission. I also checked out the website for Maine Economic Development, looking for any mention of “stimulus funds” going to the private economy. Dream on.
As a member of a small ceramic art and design family business operating in the private economy for over half a century, we are experiencing, for the first time in our history, that established and well- recognized retail galleries are requesting our work on consignment. This is because there is still a credit freeze affecting “Main Street". The privately-owned small business sector is barely mentioned in the multi trillion dollar-spending bills in which our government is investing America's future, leaving the small business sector to create its own network and its own solutions in order to insure that there will be a privately owned small business sector for the future generations of the United States of America.
As a small business dealing with our own financial crunch, we realize that we will have to develop a consignment policy that will protect us from the risks involved. We need to do this as much for the benefit of ourselves as for the benefit of the context in which we function- that of the small business community - for while others receive stimulus funds, it is the small business community- Main Street, that is left to pull its self up by it’s own bootstraps- which is exactly how we got our start in the first place.
Since the stimulus funds are directed to sources outside of the small business community, I feel that the small business community needs to make its voice felt in the areas that intersects our own fields and demand that if the “stimulus” funds do not go to the direct benefit of the private economy- then at least the spending process should not be hampered from reaching the small business community with unnecessary delays.
In the interest of “re-imagining” the future of the Maine Arts Commission, I suggest that you immediately set up a relationship with the private sector, which is also supposed to benefit from ”stimulus” funds. In the original version of H.R. 1, the small business sector was described, by the House of Representatives, as “the engine that drives new job creation” even as that same bill allotted less to loans for small businesses than it did to conversion to digital TV. Susan Collins and Olympia Snow brought the funding at least up to the level where it nearly matches digital conversion funding.
I hope others in the small business will community join me in the fight to ensure some of the “stimulus” funds go to where the rhetoric said it would go. I am found on in the small business category.
And in the meantime I hope the Maine Arts Commission will come out of its cocoon and develop programs to help artists and businesses that are working in the context of the private economy. For starts, we are probably not the only small manufacturer wondering how to craft a consignment agreement that will protect us from the very serious risks involved. The consignment agreements have to take the place of the unfreezing of credit that the billions of dollars given to the banking sector was supposed to do. We are not seeing any of the trillions upon trillions of government spending benefits, even as government spending puts us at risk, and so it becomes our responsibility to demand, wherever we can, that the “stimulus” funds be used responsibly, in a manner that stimulates the whole economy and not just for the temporary benefit of specialized factions.