EatArt tonight: Chew over what it will take to make the arts thrive, not just survive

Where are the arts going? Where should they go? And in this economic climate, are they going anywhere at all?

Tonight, three of Colorado's most creative types -- Lonnie Hanzon (of the Museum of Outdoor Arts), sculptor Marie EvB Gibbons, and Westword MasterMind Jimmy Sellars -- will chew over these questions and many, many more at EatArt, the first of what Fresh City Life organizer Chris Loffelmacher hopes will become a "yearly forum that gathers artists and community together, to focus a continued dialogue that shapes our local culture and arts."

And I'll be attempting to moderate this immoderate bunch.

But you can't have a high-minded discussion on an empty stomach, and so Whole Foods Market "is providing a buffet fit for a New York gallery opening," Loffelmacher promises, "while one of Fresh City Life's most loyal benefactors provides libations for everyone." EatArt will be held at the Central Library, 10 West 14th Avenue Parkway, with a reception starting at 6:30 p.m. and the discussion at 7 p.m.; although the seats for this free free-for-all are gone, there should be some standing room.

And in the meantime, you can get in on the discussion -- and even shape tonight's talk. Post your thoughts on any of the following topics, or pose your own questions, in the comments section below:

1.In this current economic climate, how have your priorities as an artist shifted?

2.Has the way in which you promote the arts changed because of the economy?

3.What is your vision for the long term?

4.What imaginative and practical approaches are needed to sustain the arts through this period?

5.Can there exist a connection between authentic, personal vision and responsibility to your community - artistic or otherwise?

6.What new opportunities are there to deepen the value of the arts to individuals, to society and to the economy?

7.What is the role of the arts in building a strong future for the nation?

8.How can (or should) the community protect and strengthen their ties to local arts?

And finally, should art be good for you? From a Tate Museum Art Debate, here's what John Martin curator Martin Myrone had to say:

We regularly fall back on the idea of art as therapy - the expectation that going to a gallery, seeing some pictures, participating in 'culture,' is a good thing to do - morally good, almost therapeutically good. I don't get this, never have. It's not that there isn't pleasure to be had in going to see an exhibition or visit a gallery -- far from it; there's plenty to enjoy. But the assumption that the experience is good for you, even health-giving, I think is wrong -- even dangerous. It distracts us from what was really going on behind so many of the pictures which hang in our national galleries. In the context of British art, it takes us away from the much more challenging, interesting, exciting stories about British culture and history -- the questions that really, really, matter...

And here's what one of our GBAD fans, Bruce, had to say on the Facebook discussion page:

Art can be good for you in health terms. Large-scale, long-term studies in Sweden and America have shown statistically significant correlations between attending art galleries and health in older people, using indicators such as cancer mortality rates. (The work is published.) But there is a difference between saying art 'can' be good for you and art 'should' be good for you. That said, I sometimes think that the artistic community makes too much of the significance of art and the role of the artist in society. Encounters between an artwork and the viewer are necessarily individual. Art shouldn't 'have' to be anything; artworks are out there and we experience them as we will.

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Patricia Calhoun co-founded Westword in 1977; she’s been the editor ever since. She’s a regular on the weekly CPT12 roundtable Colorado Inside Out, played a real journalist in John Sayles’s Silver City, once interviewed President Bill Clinton while wearing flip-flops, and has been honored with numerous national awards for her columns and feature-writing.
Contact: Patricia Calhoun