Reader: Why Should Taxpayers Have to Subsidize DIY Art Ventures?

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Lauri Lynnxe Murphy, honored for her work pushing and promoting Denver's arts scene as a member of Westword's first class of MasterMinds in 2005, took a break from writing about The Mayday Experiment, her tiny-house project, to pen a defense of DIY in the wake of the Ghost Ship fire and the subsequent shuttering of DIY spaces across the country, including this town's Rhinoceropolis. "My entire life has been spent in DIY, artist-built creative environments and collectives, from one of the first places I lived in my adult life, the Light Emitting Devices Warehouse at 21st and Lawrence streets, through myriad co-ops, storefronts and garages," she writes. "These sanctuary spaces have been the hidden heart of every city, incubating artists and musicians and allowing them the liberty to take artistic risks and explore full creative freedom."

Says Geoff: 

Forget about safety hazards. I think that rambling diatribe nicely covers the intellectual hazards of living in a hermetically sealed DIY commune of fellow narcissists. No, the Oakland fire was not the fault of manifest destiny or the oligarchy or anyone other than the landlord who allowed the property to be misused and the unfortunate tenants who believed that the known code violations would never amount to anything. To believe otherwise is a pathological aversion to reality and a pretty clear downside to living in a DIY community where you never have to have your beliefs or preconceptions in any way challenged.

That said, I don’t think anyone is against DIY communities. What I find shocking is that Ms. Murphy thinks that her unsustainable lifestyle needs to be subsidized by taxpayers. Not only that, but she feels that DIY artists are so unquestionably beneficial to society that she does not even have to attempt a cogent persuasive argument for subsidies — she can merely berate anyone who does not agree with her (who, we can assume, are all rapacious capitalists). Look, I get that you feel getting a job like the vast majority of the public is beneath you and is just slaving away for the sinister upper classes. But I work hard for my money. If you want to persuade taxpayers like me to subsidize your lifestyle, you're going to have to make a better case than this.

Then there's this from Zechoriah: 

Only needy little millennials need their safe spaces to create art.

To that, Danielle responds simply:

No, they need affordable places and non-slumlord landlords.

What do you think of Denver's DIY scene?

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Join the Westword community and help support independent local journalism in Denver.


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