Monday, July 03, 2006

The art of stupidity

Today's POJO is carrying an item about the Saturday night burning of the mailbox behind Beacon's Post Office. The fire, set sometime after midnight, destroyed the box and all the mail inside. If you think you might have had mail that was destroyed, there is a phone number to call listed in the newspaper.

Summer has arrived in Beacon, and the hordes of young folks loitering on the street are again growing. Though certainly most of the kids are not doing anything wrong the apparant dirth of activities for young people in Beacon provides an environment for such acts of destruction to occur - and they do occur.

There's been talk of Beacon's need for some sort of youth rec center, but the development of such an institution is highly unlikely. It seems to me there is plenty of room for individuals - and individuals in the art community - to take up some slack.

The art community gets yolked to a number wagons by many interests looking for benefit in the boon of the developing "creative class." So many towns and villages in the Hudson Valley and beyond are touting that they are in the middle of an "Arts Rennaissance." Such importance has been place on the arts as economic driver, and thought of as such so universally, that I think this movement will one day be considered together with the urban renewal efforts of forty years ago as the folly of municipal management. It may work in some places, but this donkey simply can't pull that cart everywhere.

But what the art community can do, and has done historically, is make a difference in the quality of life for a community one individual at a time. This issues facing Beacon's youth can be well impacted by the efforts and skill sets of artists and others involved in the creative community in this city.

Some efforts to get involved with Beacon's young people do exist. Dia has an education program that that involves Beacon area students at the Elementary, Middle and High school levels. I know that some local artists have done talks at the high school in the past, but I'm not aware of any current program that engages the wealth of artists active in Beacon with the youth or general public of Beacon. Bulldog Studios' lease agreements stipulate that tenants are required to devote time public service, but that seems to be a mythical beast.

I've meandered a bit now, I was simply struck by this asinine vandalism over the weekend and it got me going. I think more should and could be done.

If anyone knows of other art related community based programs, let me know. I would like to help promote these efforts, and if they don't currently exist, try to get something started.

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