Thursday, June 12, 2008
Mercado and the future of art in Austin
The Mercado is launching just in time to function as part of a larger conversation about Austin that's been going on on the local blogs, primarily among Ivan Lozano, Raymond Uhlir, and Eric Zimmerman.
It started when Ivan and Raymond both applied critera from a Bad at Sports discussion about how a city becomes an 'important art city' to Austin and decided the prognosis isn't good. Eric tried to complicate the argument a little, and Raymond responded with a lengthy analysis explaining why he has decided to leave us to "fight over table scraps" in Austin while he seeks a "heartier meal" in L.A. Ivan summed up the discussion thus far and concluded that "the brain drain is here to stay." After I announced the Mercado and explained our intentions, Ivan correctly interpreted this as a contribution to this ongoing conversation, an experimental attempt at a possible partial solution to the problem, which seems to be that artists in Austin don't think they can be successful, make a living, or otherwise achieve their goals in Austin - a catch-22 because the fact that the most successful artists leave town helps prevent Austin from becoming a place where they could achieve the success they imagine.
Make sure and read the comments on all these posts to get the full community discussion.