Regular readers of Musea may remember last year's Oct/Nov. issue #144 where I sketched out a vast and grandiose art center for Dallas in the shape of a huge ocean liner!
In this issue we pare that dream down to its basics and present to you an art center that could well open within months. Yet despite its more meager size, it would still open the door to all artists and art lovers. It's the Musea equivalent of 'lets get a barn and put on a show." In the middle of this issue is a diagram of a warehouse space. That's our art center. That's our barn. This issue is about that space.
When finances are available to me (like hit record money) I will start with these 3 priorities:
1. Expanding the present day Musea Review service.
2. Setting up the art center in this issue.
3. Starting a no-ad newspaper.
Let's look at step two - the art center. It's overall purpose is to present all kinds of art to the public in a fun and novel way, to allow anyone to display their art or show their talent, and to foster the best artists.
Look at the diagram. The front door is at the bottom. The first thing you notice is that there's a lot going on. Yes that's the goal - a place where new and classic art of every kind is going on and people are mingling to discover, discuss, and enjoy it. And note that this art center spotlights INDIE and CLASSIC art. Corporate art from the Big 6 is not welcome here.
Next you may notice there seems to be 3 big general sections. On the lower right is the performance area with a snack bar. On the lower left is our gallery/shop. And on the back half is a library of classics. Let's go back to the front door. Beside the entrance is a BIG sign that makes it crystal clear that we expect reasonable behavior from all who enter. It's got to be that way so all who enter can co-exist with other like-minded art lovers. The sign explains our "Ban the Bozos", one strike and you're out, policy. If you disturb other customers, our staff or management, or harm our art center or anything in our place in any way, you will be asked to leave and be permanently banned from all things Musea. Remember our slogan GET ALONG or GET ALONG (get along with others or get along - go somewhere else). Hopefully within a few months we will have weeded out most trouble- makers.
You and I reader, are reasonable people and we pass muster, and enter knowing the basic rules of behavior.
'Whoops, back up, " says security at the door. There is a cover charge of $1 or $1 plus donation. "What?" you say. "You mean it costs to enter anytime day or night?" "Yes", he answers. "That pays for a lot of what makes this place."
You pay your dollar - you've come this far - and you enter.
SECTION ONE - Performance Space, Snack Bar, Game Room, Meeting Room.
On the right is an open space. One of the few in sight. It has tables, chairs, couches, a snack bar, and at one end a Persian carpet - that's our stage. Pretty fancy huh? We'll get to the performance part in just a second.
The snack bar has an always-changing supply of snacks and drinks at fairly reasonable prices. Note we use reusable plastic cups and plates, and cloth napkins. We are trying to reduce the amount of disposable waste. The snack bar crew also keeps the keys to the game closet. Patrons may want to rent chess pieces, board games (like my game Players), jigsaw puzzles, card games, etc. We'll have a big supply of games, and we might just host tournaments occasionally - why not?
Groups can also use this space for their meetings. It's great for mini conventions. But on busy times of the week, it's the stage that has the most action. Here's how it works. You, artist of any kind, sign up to perform 45 minutes. When you're done, you walk over to the cashier and get paid $20. Slick, simple, cool.
There will be a huge bulletin board that shows who's performing during every hour of the week that the stage is open. To get things started, artists are invited to sign up for an hour as much as once a week. Gradually as there becomes more artists than slots to perform, we will book the best, plus have one night a week for new artists to audition on a first come first served basis. They will get paid $5 for 15 minutes of audition. We may also book artists that are touring. And we'll probably reserve Saturday mornings for kid friendly performers. At night, adults only please.
And what's a performance? You tell me. It's virtually anything with one exception (we'll get to that later). You can perform music, stage a play or act out a monologue, have a dance recital or fashion show, give a demonstration or a speech, do a magic or comedy act, read poetry, teach a class, give a sermon, etc. You can show a film or video (we'll have a nice TV set up) or ???
You'll have from the top of the hour to 45 minutes after the hour to perform. Then there'll be 15 minutes between performances. The cashier then pays you $20 cold hard cash. Note there's a green room behind the stage.
Now to the one exception: no electronic instruments. That means no bands, 3 guitars and drums. It's time to dump that 40-year sameness for something - ANYTHING new. Bands have become everything rock and roll started out opposing. See my writings on post-bands music. Excluding an amp for a single keyboard, there's no need for excess noise, in such a small space. I'm pulling the plug on that.
This open stage allows anyone to perform. And it brings an incredible variety of performances to the public - all kinds, all ages. It's worked wonderfully at the few Art Revolutionary Festivals that have been staged in Dallas, and it'll work here.
Oops I almost forgot telling you about our Pillow Theater. Once or twice a week we will fill the floor with pillows and show an indie film, video, or film in the public domain. Who's got the popcorn?
SECTION TWO - Gallery / Store
A string quartet is playing on stage. In the wings is a video artist. And after that, 2 actors are scheduled to do a dialogue. And you and I have just bought some hot cookies and iced tea. Let's wander to the 2nd section of our art center. We go left and pass another huge bulletin board. This one shows a lot of in house info: what jobs are open, what artists are needed, what events are coming up, a notable quote from lit, a weekly puzzle, and assorted graffiti. We check it out and then enter the Gallery.
The Gallery spotlights a wide variety of things that for one reason or another are cool. The bulk of it is reproduced art. But we'll get to that in a minute.
There is jewelry, clothes, hats, - some used and some submitted to us by artist/designers. By the way we DON'T DO CONSIGNMENT on ANYTHING EVER! That's an artist rip off and everyone knows it. IF we buy, and we'll be very picky, we'll buy with cash. NO CONSIGNMENT EVER. I hear artists everywhere cheering!
There are also assorted classic and indie recordings, videos, zines, zines, and more zines, (I'm partial to them and will stock the best assortment), chapbooks, mail art, comics, classic books, etc. There's cool one-of-a-kind knickknacks and collectibles that I and my staff have found from searching antique malls and flea markets. There's a digital photo booth - an updated version of those old time, 4-for-a-dollar ones, where you can get your picture taken and printed immediately.
We will also offer tables. Anyone can rent a table for a day and show their stuff. Ex. A publisher showing off his line of books, a used book store owner showing off his best classics, a jewelry maker showing off his line, or a collector showing off his collection. Or anything that is cool, and not over-the-top pushy, money grubbing, or corporate. And finally there is the art for sale. Did you notice that we've covered just about every art except art? I haven't forgotten painters. Here's the deal. Any artist is welcome to show us his art. Any art that we like AND that is reproducible on a color copier, we will accept for sale. Then we'll make and display a color copy of that work with the artist info, and return the original to the artist. Soon we will have bins and bins (much like those that showcase LPs) showing all kinds of original art - not just paintings and drawings, but sculpture (photos of), architectural and fashion drawings, fine photographs, even original sheet music. When a customer perusing the stacks sees an artwork that he wants to buy, we will make a color copy of it and sell it for about $3, with a percentage of that money going to the artist. Cool huh? That way we can show an INCREDIBLE amount of original art all in one place, sell copies, and the artist always keeps the original.
All of a sudden art is NOT who you know, or what gallery you've gotten into, or what critic says you're good, or what rich people hoard in their mansions; instead, it's about getting your best work out there among thousands of other artists. And doing it in a central location where art lovers can find you.
But even with all this you haven't seen everything yet. There's still the room for HARDCORE art lovers. p> LIBRARY OF CLASSICS:
Towards the back (or maybe on the 2nd floor in a two story version) is our Classic Library. Whoops you can't enter unless you pay $1 or $1 plus donation. These dollars go directly to buying more classic art for this library. And there is a display as you first enter, that shows off that week's purchase of classic, books, albums, films, and art. This space is a quieter space, a more reflective space. Shhhhhhhsh. It's full of the best art of all time - well all time before 2000 AD. We will be very fussy about adding any art that is more recent than that. Maybe a few special items - maybe not.
There's the classic book section with every major classic of lit of course, and guides to literature, but also classics of science, kids books, chapbooks, comics, zines - there will be a showcase of zines from the Musea Zine Hall of Fame - and more. There will be tables and chairs to relax and read. And here, as elsewhere in our classic library, there are changing displays to show off our collection. Perhaps most walls will be pegboards filled with visual treats.
There's the classic film section with classic videos and DVD's, plus a couple video players with either headsets for individual screening, or we'll have some small viewing rooms. Also film/TV guidebooks. There's the classic music section. But classic doesn't restrict it to Baroque music. We've got to have classic: jazz, rock, country, blues and all the rest too. Our section will have most of the world's greatest recordings. Plus there are players and headsets to listen to anything you'd like to hear.
And finally there's our classic art gallery. Here we display our collection of the world's great art works with one work per sheet - all arranged like the art in our gallery section. Here's how it works. We take the best reproductions from used art books, auction catalogues, sale books, etc. And cut out the painting reproduction, paste it on a sheet of paper, add the name of the artist, name of the work, and year made in the upper left corner, and file it away. Voila, you have hundreds of Van Gogh reproductions in his section, hundreds of Monets in the Monet bin, etc. In the end you'll have thousands of art works from artists of every kind from every period. They will be arrange chronologically but there will also be bins of certain genres: American Impressionism, oriental screens, kids book illustrators, abstract sculpture, religious art, dress designs, architectural drawings, erotica, Oceanic art, surrealism, naive art, etc.
As our collection grows we'll gather thousands and thousands of art works from all major and most minor artists. We will also have art guides and an art library to help make sense of all the different art styles. And on your way out, don't forget to see the Tommy exhibit, items from my own collection - I love to collect.
These are our 3 main sections. We'll also have some 'rooms'. Besides the green room, there will be a couple of offices, perhaps a space for our review services computers, maybe a computer internet room, a lock up room for our valuables and all things not yet processed, a collage room where any artist can use the art we don't use for our art gallery to make collages - or any art project; bathrooms, and mechanical rooms. Also before we end this tour, some biz notes.
1. Our return policy. Because the stuff we sell is very cool, and not too trendy, you can return just about anything for a refund or exchange at any time - we can always resell it - except for clothing and Christmas decorations after Christmas!
2 Security. We will try to have ample and safe parking and a safe environment outside and in.
3. Employees. We will need a lot of them: clerks, security, biz minded managers, builders to set up and display the art, maintenance folks, librarians, snack bar helpers, etc.
4. Profit and Loss. We will have to charge enough to make a profit. That's a tricky thing to do. Too little and we go out of business and everyone looses their job. Too much and we loose your business.
5. Judge us. Judge us by not only how we treat you the customer, but also by how we treat our staff, our maintenance help, and our suppliers - AND our franchisers if this idea catches on and others want to start up similar art centers in their towns. Every town should have one. Well that's the tour. What do you think? Send comments, concerns, and capital to:
c. Tom Hendricks 2006.
Musea is Tom Hendricks.
4000 Hawthorne #5, Dallas Texas 75219
Musea.us or hunkasaurus.com, also see wikipedia Tom Hendricks and my space Musead
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