Thursday, November 27, 2008

Money Well Spent?

Last election day, Minnesotans renewed their love affair with taxing and spending. Minnesotans voted 56% in favor of enshrining a sales tax increase in the state constitution with the proceeds earmarked for the environment and the arts.

To get an idea of how the new art windfall will be spent, Nihilist in Golf Pants looks at a sampling of the artists receiving 2008 grants from the Minnesota State Art Board:

Peter B. Becker Nelson, Minneapolis
$6,000 — to purchase video equipment and create a new video work that explores themes of relationships, empathy, sexuality, and gender

Wonderful. The taxpayers of Minnesota are buying this guy video equipment to explore themes of relationships, empathy, sexuality, and gender – themes that would never be artistically explored without our tax dollars. Once Mr. Nelson is done with that, perhaps he will do a video version of his mustache series (a previous work where he drew mustaches on photographs of people).

Amber Ellison Walker, Minneapolis
$2,000 — to increase the post-production quality of her video work and the overall quality of her publicity materials, and to have her work seen by a broader audience

What is this work that we are paying to help bring to a broader audience? It is likely related to the Wilderness dance organization, which is co-directed by Ms. Walker. The website describes the company thusly: “Wilderness is a contemporary dance company interested in human freedom.” A video sample of there performance of “up” is here. They use the same tilted camera effect used by the old Batman TV show to create the illusion that Batman and Robin were scaling a building. They also put multi-colored balls in their mouth while squirming around. At least the grant doesn’t include money for blue body makeup.

Jeffrey M. Krueger, Saint Paul
$6,000 — to photograph and research trees that have witnessed important events or have a connection with notable figures in American history, and to produce a book that pairs his photographs with each tree's historical narrative

I only hope that Mr. Krueger doesn’t pretend to interview the trees.

Heather R. Johnson, Minneapolis
$5,000 — for a documentary film, titled, “No Ugly Trees,” that explores women's body and self-esteem issues

I recommend that Ms. Johnson team with Mr. Krueger to produce a documentary exploring the self-esteem issues of trees.

John S. Jodzio, Minneapolis
$5,700 — to finish his short story collection, If You Lived Here, You'd Already Be Home

Finally, someone has written a short story collection based on the popular apartment rental sign!

Marcia H. Peck, Minnetonka
$6,000 — to visit Milan and nearby Bergavio for present-day setting research and background information on an important school of Italian violin-making for her novel, The Unattended Moment, and to work with an editor on the final draft

Why do a feel like I’m paying for Marcia H. Peck’s vacation?

Andrew A. Turpening, Minneapolis
$6,000 — for funds to support a five-month plan to develop two new styles of music: Latin breakbeat and popumentary

For 6 grand, I better be hearing this next year: “And the Grammy for best Latin breakbeat record goes to …”

Then there are those who want money from Minnesota taxpayers to work in New York:
Edie Hill, Minneapolis
$6,000 — to expand her network by collaborating with musicians in the New York City area and to expand her music vocabulary by working in the instrumental and electro-acoustic genres

Maud N. Hixson, Mendota Heights
$6,000 — to seek national experience as a vocalist by creating a cabaret show to be performed in New York City, aided by many of the top cabaret professionals who have offered their services in direction, coaching, arrangements, booking, and publicity

Richard F. Copley, Minneapolis
$6,000 — for the continuation of work photographing life on the streets of big cities, primarily New York City

Jacqueline White, Minneapolis
$2,000 — to prepare a thorough revision of her book-length memoir, My Transgender Husband: A Love Story; prepare a book proposal; and meet with potential agents in New York City

Finally, there are some Grants that aren’t all bad.

Timothy A. Fort, Inver Grove Heights
$6,000 — for the creation of a professional broadcast-quality video of his kinetic art for Internet and television distribution

What is kinetic art, you ask? It is, basically, setting up dominos and letting them tumble. But Mr. Fort moves behind mere dominos and raises kinetic art to the next level. You know that he must be good because he has made a commercial for Microsoft.

Now that is art I’m happy to pay for.


Blogger Leo Pusateri said...

I think I should ask for a $6000 grant to travel to Club Med as a means of increasing my blog's visibility.

1:49 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I'm writing in for $12k to produce a new website that chronicles the lunacy and waste that the taxpayers of Minnesota just voted for.

I think I shall call it "Duped Dopes"

Hey, I'm dead serious....

2:39 PM  

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