Monday, October 17, 2011

Where are the artists at Occupy Atlanta?

Posted By on Mon, Oct 17, 2011 at 4:39 PM

  • Karen Tauches
Local artist and curator Mandie Turner Mitchell writes into CL this afternoon via phone from Woodruff Park, where the Occupy Atlanta folks are still camping out. Mitchell praises the (relative) organization of the leaderless bunch, noting the various committees, productive kitchen, medical needs tent, and so forth.

She does make note, though, of a couple of important things missing from the equation:

Only two things are really missing.

A toilet paper committee, most importantly. (A testament to the increasing occupying population? Or part of a homeland security mission to stop anyone else from going?)

And, surprisingly, if you come looking for a working studio, someone drawing the gorgeous landscape, a working visual artist, or even an arts and crafts table you may very well be disappointed.

One occupier observed, "Why aren't there more posters? And creative ones? What can we do about this? Where are the artists?"

All good questions.

So far posters are not a priority and they are not going to win over many supporters for a movement born of sore issues that already have the country so solidly divided.

But if propaganda is to play a role it has to be well done by trained practitioners. This time 5 years ago, no one thought Obama would be President. And then came the freshest campaign posters in U.S. History. Then came HOPE. Then came CHANGE. (Well, so we thought.)

So where are the visual artists? We all know many who are unemployed, almost none making a living wage, some homeless, and a few who are politically motivated.

But are they just too wrought with disappointment? Are the artists too tired? Are they in bars or cafes whining about their circumstances and arguing about the Percent for Arts Ordinance? Still?

The zombie walk Sunday reminds us that there is scary power and sometimes a lot of fun in uniform or costumed numbers. The same goes with posters, t-shirts, tents and websites.

There's a job for you here in Woodruff Park if you're an artist or designer. There's a small city of like-minded people here, a city built in only seven days by some amazing inhabitants.

Atlanta artists must be too accustomed to disenfranchisement to even care, too worried with the day to day, or just too preoccupied to realize the impact their presence could make.

That or...this is a massive indictment.

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