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Hot off the Press Release

New columnist gives his view on local arts industry developments

March 6, 2012, 12:00 am

Rumor has it that Santa Fe was once the second-largest art market in the US, after only New York. Whether truth or ethnocentric fantasy, those days may be gone forever, thanks to Casino Wall Street. Yet Santa Fe remains a hub around which the wheel of culture spins, having gone local in order to maintain its integrity. Though the market now moves at a snail’s pace, the so-called Great Recession (no one wants to use the D word) has created some unexpected projects, events and bedfellows that seem to be eclipsing the tourist-/gallery-driven economy, making the arts a part of culture, not just industry.

Through it all, one might begin to wonder about the machinations behind this flurry of cultural and artistic activity. Wonder no more: I shall take the virtual pile of press releases, schmooze-generated rumors and assertive investigation of those in the know and run them through the journalistic distillery, publishing a monthly update to make Reader’s Digest or People magazine aficionados nod in mild approval. For readers who just can’t wait to read the print edition, I’ll provide more timely announcements, weekly, at SFReporter.com.

Plaza Competition
It looks like Outside In Productions may have a challenge for its position as host and producer of summer music series, Santa Fe Bandstand, on the Plaza. As required in its bylaws, the City of Santa Fe Arts Commission opened up the bidding process to host the event, which has taken place on our beloved Plaza since the 1970s. Outside In has organized the event since 2004 and, should it be outbid, many of us would greatly mourn the loss of the hardest-working person in Santa Fe show business, Dave Lescht. He would not let rain or shine keep the show from going on (with the exception of one cloudburst of biblical proportions last year). Regardless, we’ll continue to “see” you on KUNM’s Freeform show, Dave.

Wanted: New Executive Director
Speaking of the hard-working showbiz people, the Center for Contemporary Arts is again looking for an executive director. The position remains open after the exit of Craig Anderson, who oversaw some monumental challenges, including near closure of the CCA and, conversely, the voyage of Meow Wolf’s The Due Return, supposedly its most popular exhibition in its 32-year history. Anderson was the seventh executive director in 10 years.

Score for Kid’s Museum
The Children’s Peace Statue, which stood upon the Ghost Ranch Santa Fe’s hallowed ground for 15 years, recently moved to the Santa Fe Children’s Museum, as a result of the GRSF putting property on the market. Two very interesting and significant facts are connected to the statue: The New Mexico Kids Committee created it as a gift to the City of Los Alamos in 1995, and the City of Los Alamos and the Los Alamos County Council rejected it—twice!—an apparent conflict of interest. Well, neither the county nor city shall ever again be faced with such an egregiously embarrassing decision thanks to the totally peaceful folks at SFCM.

Google “Brand Loyalty”
In the “corporations colonizing young minds department”: The Georgia O’Keeffe Museum will be hosting the event Doodle 4 Google, in which children create doodles, those cute representations of the Google logo posted on its search page, usually corresponding to a particular time of year. According to Jackie M, the museum’s director of education and public programs, as well as the keeper of enigmatic and cutting-edge last names, “Doodles have become one of the most beloved parts of Google.” Yet some may find the pay-to-play listing preferences in Google’s search engine and its developing consumer surveillance program far more endearing. A few of Google’s top brass double as judges, and public vote chooses one winner from each grade. First prize goes to the winning doodler on May 17, instilling in him/her a lifelong brand loyalty that any parental consumer would be proud of. For more info, contact the museum, for I’d rather not encourage such behavior.

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