> The Artcar is a Teaching Resource


Artcars can become the
        foundation for a multitude of educational experiences.Local Issues ARE Important

Here at Hutman Artcars Local issues in the arts are of great importance.
How can we shape our local art scene to better assist the artcar community with growth and development?
How can we help to share and communicate together to make effective progress happen.
Hutman Artcars has been able to work with a wide range of people and we have accomplished many great things.
If you are planning an event involving artcars in the Baltimore, Maryland area we would like to hear from you.

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Artscape -

We continue to argue for a closer relationship with Artscape, AVAM and the Baltimore Arts Scene. We believe that supporting the Arts is much more than bringing business to city businesses or value to museum collections or sponsorship for large institutions. Support for the arts needs to reach out to all parts of the community. There needs to be a spirit of partnership and inclusion. Simply letting artcars turn up at events is not sufficient. We should find ourselves invited to planning sessions and find a spirit of outreach reaching us from major citywide event coordinators.

You will be surprised what the local cartsts can do to help out if only they are asked and included.  When we all act as a community interacting together we all will find our experiences more rewarding.

How can we accomplish these goals....send me an e.mail cbladey@verizon.net

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Issue
2010 Review
Response

Issue:

Artscape taking advantage of local Non commercial Visionary, Outsider Artists

I would very much like all who take part in Artscape to be volunteers. I would join them. My appearance brings in hundreds of people who spend money at the festival buying art from commercial artists, listening to paid music acts and paying for food and other things. Additionally with such a large budget Artscape (half a million)  is abusive when it says it can not find a local, popular Cartist minimal funding $60-100 a day with hospitality so that they don't essentially have to pay to attend the event. Each event costs us wear and tear, food and drink, gas mileage. Each year I spend at least $100. fixing up the cars so that they can attend then there are the trips to the mechanic and gas. I am told that I have to go commercial like the rest of them but that is like changing my religion. I don't want to go there. Please consider helping us continue at artscape by contacting the city and asking that they share some of the funding and profits that we help each year to bring in. I thank you in Advance.

My response to a Baltimore City Paper Event notice that said that "Artcars are the exhibit that just wont go away" and that we were in the "cheap Seats"

The Mail

Cheap-Seats-Fillers Ain't Cheap

We are all here together in the Baltimore arts scene. I will never suggest that any artist has a cheap seat or should go away (Baltimore Weekly, July 14). It is unfortunate that you had to categorize art cars and their participation in Artscape in that way.

Art cars are iconic for Artscape. It is the will of the people who look at all of the offerings at Artscape and keep coming back with a strong demand for our visionary and outsider art.

No, we do not have degrees from MICA, and some of us do not have credit card processing machines, and I don't have "Inc." after my name. So what's wrong? Just because we "live" our art rather than just sell it? We don't get any funding from Artscape? Which we do not. Nothing. I was told I needed exposure. Hey, I drive art every single day. The only kind of exposure I could use would get me a fine, and I can't pay it.

So it does us no financial good to be there, just costs us gas and wear and tear. No problem, I said to a parent who's kid pulled a hand off my car. I just replace it using credit card debt. (Just see if an exhibiting painter would let visitors smear their hands over their art without compensation.)

Yes, we almost went away twice, but there is no way the public wanted to let that happen, and we had to come back.

I could easily go elsewhere, but despite the way you treated us, and the way Artscape treats us, we are artists that connect with the people. We live our art daily, and most of us support it not with state and local grants and elitist sponsors, but with our own sweat and blood and maxed-out credit cards. Being compulsive comes with the territory, and it is painful.

I doubt that there would be much art at Artscape if we asked the grant-funded, corporate artists and elitist patron-funded artists to leave. So I don't plan to and would not. So you should probably not be suggesting that any member of the arts community leave or indicting us in print for "refusing to leave."

Recently, I was reminded by the new Artscape arts director that we were not getting any funds from Artscape, despite bringing many visitors and their money to the festival to see us. His response was, didn't I know that he was not making "enough." I rest my case. We need an attitude change and a greater sensitivity to the outsider and visionary at the one window we use to crawl "in" once a year. And, no, our seat is not cheap. Just look at my credit card bills sometime.

Conrad Bladey
Linthicum

 2010 Review

My review of the Artcar show at Artscape this year 2010

This year there were improvements but lots of double talk and very very unsafe and poor management of the event at all levels. I wish I did not have to find these important failings that can be easily corrected but I am not waiting till someone gets injured.

It is terrible when I am not paid but have to basically set up the exhibit by parking all the cars! Why should I have to Pay in wear and tear and mileage! When I am helping others make money....as they say..."Go Figure"

Artscape 2010 REVIEW  Conrad Bladey Cartist. (draft)

 

Introduction:

There are many sub-cultures, tribes, families within the larger artcar community.

Each has a different perspective, different set of needs and preferences.

 

None the less there is no reason that these needs are not all addressed by event planning.

 

This review is written from the perspective of a Visionary, outsider, Artist, Cartist who does not use the experience for any other purpose than as part of his daily life. I consider it an opportunity to talk to people who have seen my car on the road, help others with artcar construction technology and encourage others to build and drive artcars daily. I sell absolutely nothing. I am not looking for exposure. It is a summer weekend which is valuable and has to be negotiated for with my family. Most of my money goes into the maintenance of my artcars and with four artcars it is stretched to the max, but that is how it is with visionary art. It is compulsive. I am local but that does not mean that when I drive down to Artscape six times over three days that I don't use some gas, run down the mechanical systems and while exhibiting I have wear and tear on the art. I bring with my cars art bikes, art gurney, horn hats and fancy dress in the tradition of the Houston Artcar Parade.

 

Nature of the Festival-

Artscape is a corporate festival one might say. It is not a festival run by the local Visionary art community like the Orange Show events in Houston. It is not like the Louisville artcar event which is run also by the museum there and arts community. Artscape caters to many many corporate sponsors who all pay fees for the opportunity to make money, vendors who make money, and artists who sell their artwork either at the festival or in studios. Because it is a festival focused upon business artcars function to attract that business from which the corporation or artist inc. directly benefit. Therefore, because at art centered and art community run events do not use local cartists to bring in money they need not compensate them whereas at corporate oriented Artscape cartists are used to bring in crowds so that others might profit and should be compensated for wear and tear and gas. They should have no out of pocket food expenses.

 

Review-

 

Positive- Staff (curator and paid staff) were friendly. They turned up on site. They seem to have worked hard. They seem to be nice and good people. Communication was good, packets good, instructions good (except for parking). It was good to have shelter and limited food was well done. Communication on site was good and they remained for the most part on site. They organized a good number of artcar appearances and facilitated one dynamic artcar construction project. The parade and hospitality was well organized (lacked maps)

 

Negative

 

1. Poor communication over the year before the event. You can get all the local cartists around one small table for coffee and cooperative event design and management with feedback which is implemented. This should have been done to build the event from the bottom up.

 

2. Top down management style. I found we were having things done that were never discussed. The postcards were good but I had not heard of them before they were happening, pizza was good but did anyone ask me- NO artcar lounge was good but what did I think. This needs to happen at least one time for about an hour or so possibly three times that is proposals from both sides, Feedback from management. Reassessment and compromise. This is the most important problem with Artscape. It has a dictatorial style. With this management style Artscape will never get the most from the cartists who generally are giving people who will pitch in but first they have to buy in and have their feedback implemented.

 

3. No traditional honorarium. I do events locally all the time. I get $60 for two hours working at local school events and they have very small budgets not the huge budget of Artscape. They are not corporate oriented. Artscape needs to do at least that. I would say $60. a day. Minimum. With gas money. One standard tank of gas.

(ok then do mileage I have to make two trips, up and back for three days). I put at least $100 into re-painting and fix up often much more prior to the event with those materials used to fix up the car after the event. Local honorariums run from $60-115 per day including food  (three meals make a day folks not on) and specific entertainment. Before Artscape spends anything on the exhibit outside of a  simple good sized tent LOCAL artists need to be compensated for travel and wear and tear. We make money for countless vendors, companies and the city. We need to see sharing happening.

 

4. Insufficient food. Pizza was great. Hospitality at the parade was great and loads of beverages. A keg of beer has been traditional it did not materialize. We all have food and drink needs. I am an old man I was not asked what I needed. Again top down management makes for discomfort where simple communication would make things much better. Communication with follow up action. Most festivals do brunch, lunch and if multi day events dinner. This makes it so cartists can afford to attend and feed their helpers and family and is very important. One can get food donations- I know I have done it. Ask people what they would like.

 

5. Safety- Once again cartists were not absolutely required to have a minimum of two spotters before they left. This is ABSOLUTELY important. Cars going through corwds are dangerous. We should have police or staff spotters at the designated times for arrival and departure. People should all leave together with a  fair time negotiated to suit everyone. That is cars should remain the festival hours but all leave thereafter when the person who has to leave soonest has to leave. The easy way to accomplish this is to provide barriers from the exit street to the exhibit so that no spectators can get into the path. Portable barriers are already owned by the city and you donít need all that many of them. Just close the street for the mass departure either end temporarly and perhaps place a few barriers for the exit street.

This is so important.

The parade route is narrow. Staff and police should be summoned to protect the  crowd for the short time that the parade passes through. They could walk with the parade making sure that the crowed is alerted. So many people hang out from the sidewalk or cut in front of the cars and many are not aware of the parade.

 

The importance of this can not be over stated. We have been lucky that no no one has been hurt but if this ever happens we can be sure that there will be no more artcar shows and we can be sure that it will effect the NATIONAL artcar scene as did the accident at burning man a few yeas back. We need to work together to make sure that there is the safest environment.

 

6. Managing parking. I always get to events early to set up not exactly on time or a bit late. Almost all cars were present before any management of any form turned up to park us. We could have been given a number and a space with a matching number with our mailed out kits. We have to submit applications so there is no excuse for not knowing our needs and that we are coming. I was the second car on site less than an hour before deadline. Cars were arriving via side streets and needed to move ahead so as not to create a major parking problem. I stepped up with no authority, no paycheck, no official role to park cars in a reasonable order taking into account space needs as best I could. The official staff did not arrive until much later (they should have been on site an hour ahead of time) There was no system of parking. It seems they did not even know where they had space. This was silly not just inefficient. You have a year to plan and you donít know what space you have? Then instead of leaving things be cars almost all had to be re parked. This is outrageous. Its hot, people are tired, they need to set up. Yet it is a perennial problem. It needs to be fixed. Know the space, number spaces give numbers to cartists in advance be there to help.

 

7. Signage- exhibits should have signs with the name of the car, name of artist. Artscape once did this. It needs to be done is not costly.

 

8. Logic- I keep being told that Artscape had no money therefore no honorariums for locals. That means you donít go out and fund an artcar lounge, build an artcar, and postcards until local cartists needs are covered. You cant have it both ways.

 

9. Artcar lounge- A tent would have been just fine. The shade was great. I would have liked to see more decorations, more chairs about 1/3 more. It is an artistic expression but I found it sparse. It was overall very nice and artistic.

 

10. Publicity- I am a publicity expert and in the past I have secured without cost, local news publicity, sun paper publicity, television coverage for the event each year without difficulty. No television this year, It did not my local paper or local sun paper insert and it was just mentioned briefly as part of the schedule. This is terrible. If I take the time to come people should know that I will be there. We submit photos. If a photo of a car is used it should be of a car that will appear. This is a process that any manager should be able to accomplish. It takes most of the year to accomplish not just a few press releases. By the way the full page and a half coverage of the Artscape staff in the sun was obscene to say the least. A grand ego trip but should not be done just prior to Artscape but maybe in the winter when planning begins. Participating in such a thing was wrong. The true unsung heros are those who are going into debt to exhibit their art.

 

11. Parade- I see no reason to have to cross town to the visionary. The AVAM can have a booth at the festival for hospitality before the parade and get credit for it. It should also be a real parade. Music, marching units anyone who will turn up as we do for free. It was however a great parade.

 

I submit these comments not to attack anyone. I hope to have been fair. I base my responses on my needs and experience so they wont be the same for everyone. Artscape generally needs to develop a bottom up sharing management style and make us full family members with input, involvement and utlize feedback. This way they can get the most out of the cartists who will always go the extra mile. I would have been convinced to bring in three more  cars if only I felt part of the team. Over the year before next Artscape this can happen. Overall this was a very successful event.

 

Remember- just because people generally have had a good time does not say that there cant be improvements. Just because no one was hurt doesnít mean that you have a save event. You were just Lucky.

 Response

Conrad Bladey, Visionary Artist, Cartist, Peasant, Outsider Artist.

 I responded to myself-

Thank you for your most wonderful forum.
This year the event went off smoothly however, despite not being funded I arrived at the venue to find no management what so ever. I the unfunded one stepped into the job and parked all the cars. The management, paid did not know even how much space they had to work for. They also did not know how a very noisy compressor got there but then failed to get it moved. Just to put this in perspective. We have to be there three days Friday, Saturday, Sunday. Most if not all festivals traditionally cover the food for cartists. Artscape provided continental breakfast on Saturday, Pizza Friday and small breakfast Sunday. That's only three meals out of 8-9. When we attend it costs us money and we should not have to have out of pocket fees as well.
Also it is important to note that although artscape claims there was no money for Visionary outsider local cartists (by this I mean the ones that don't profit from selling things) money was spent on the artcar lounge and hundreds and hundreds of fancy printed postcards that we are still figuring out what to do with. Also funds were given for the BROS to make an artcar. All well and good but you dont tell people there is no money when there clearly was money. It just was not seen to be appropriate by the management to use it to support local artists. Therefore I feel mislead and used for the benefit of the corporate world.

The costs to artscape of an independent, visionary, local art car artist attending artscape= 0 simple- a parking place. If this was an event run by and for the visionary art community as is the huge one in Texas or the one Run by the Louisville museum of art and craft I would as a local have no problem volunteering.

Artscape is not one of these. It is a commercial festival. It is not even local or regional as performers come from far and wide. Artscape is there to put money in the pockets of commercial artists and corporations. It has a budget over 800,000 then city profits in addition.

Yet for all this my cars, the cars of an independent, non commercial, outsider visionary are used as icons of the event. I am honored. But, it would be wonderful if the wealth was shared. Could that be the right thing to do? I do not insist on it but one hopes that the festival would actually support the local arts.

What is reasonable.....? Generally when schools have us out for arts days they donate $60 per car to cover gas and wear and tear. That is for two hours. Other local festivals have donated $230 per day. Not at all much.

There are lots of tribes of cartists.
As I mentioned I am not commercial, outsider visionary.
Artscape funds others to come from out of state. They don't get much but enough to call the weekend a subsidized vacation. For this they gladly come as it is a vacation. Some dont sell anything but others not only get a paid vacation but sell things. They dont make much money but some. All well and good.

Hey I am not here on vacation. I live here. Yet due to our budget it was the only place we are going all summer.

I was glad that the festival went well this year. Even though things go well things can always improve.
If we spread the word maybe the right thing can be discovered.

Conrad Bladey


 

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