Chris Drew on Thu, 13 Apr 2000 06:10:27 +0200 (CEST)

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[Nettime-bold] Fw: ART-ACT Notes 19

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 Shannon Burns enters a color statement for viewing in the ART-ACT. Check

  My name is Homer Jackson. I am a Philadelphia based
 inter- disciplinary artist. For 15 years, I taught
 arts workshops in Philadelphia area prisons. Powerful
 experiences and intense learning environments.....

 ... For over a year now, I have had the wonderful
 opportunity to read your words. Being a part of the
 Forum for Cultural Exchange, I read quite a few
 people's thoughts. I always thought that your comments
 were from the heart. You speak from the place that is
 quite alien to many in the arts community,
 particularly academics. I always found your
 contributions to be valuable and enlightening. I also
 am excited by your newsletter project.

 I am also working on a publication. It is called SHINE
 and it is directed at Black artists. It is about our
 stories, our struggles, our solutions. I want to try
 to re-create in public, some aspects of our private
 conversations. Younger artists need to know their
 history. Older artists need to know that new history
 is being written. There is so much that needs to be discussed
 to break through the deafening silence from the official
 Arts community.....

 ....It also brought to mind an article/report by John Kriedler,
 which I hope to publish in my newsletter, called Leverage Lost:

 The Non-Profit arts in the post Ford Era. You can find it at:

 Thanks for doing your thang.
 Homer Jackson

 The University of Illinois at Champaign - Urbana - is holding a hearing on
 their Chief Illinowyk mascot, Friday, April 14th from 8am to 5pm. I spent
 the evening with a determined youth group at the Chicago American Indian
 Center. They know they are about to look into the eye of the storm. They

 That gave me pause. I did not expect to be at the youth meeting. The
 American Indian Center's board was holding a scheduled meeting across the
 hall. Robert Wapahi, our Board President and the artist in residence at the
 American Indian Center, pointed me toward the meeting of youth. I
 participated in the smudging ceremony, and took a seat in back.

 My plan is to take the Anti-Racist T-shirt Art Contest Tour on the road. If
 we have not received a lot of discussion yet from this idea our site is
 evolving, this comment flier we are floating, we will. This is the eye with
 potential uglyness on all sides - southern Illinois is Decator all over
 again. I will read statements from some of our artists at this forum.

The event starts with organizations speaking for 8 minutes, first a pro
 speaker - then a con speaker. At noon they will allow individuals who
 registered previously to speak until 4or 5pm. Organizers told me that they
 also want to take written statements on this issue.

To find out more about
 Mascot/Racism at the University of Illinois, in sports and in the media

or for more about an early
 artist leader in this struggle, Charlene Teters visit

 To follow this event through the University's web site - visit

 Hey-ho, Duluth Minnesota. Duluth in the summer time is a beautiful town
 located at the top of Lake Superior. Tourists, hunters and fishermen, flock
 there for its scenic rolling hills and mild temperatures cooled by the
 The Minnesota state bird, the mosquito, is abundant throughout the warm
 season and absent in the winter. Tourists follow the same cycle as the
 bird for the same reason. In the winter it gets so cold that the bay can
 freeze solid overnight. We are talking thirty, even occasionally fifty
 zero, real temperature, in Fahrenheit. Ten to twenty below zero is common.
 What is more - it is a wet cold that seeps through clothing. Cold is very
 cold in Duluth.

 So why would I, in my wildest imagination, come up with the desire to move
 to Duluth for the winter? The answer is named Mona.

 My life as a photographer/artist and a community volunteer was at once
 gregarious and lonely. I met a lot of people - had a number of friends but
 focused too much on my photography to entertain a relationship. I was
 working on my "House of Mirrors" project for several months before the CETA
 Arts workers arrived at the Summit University Free Press.

 The "House of Mirrors" was a flop house on the "West Bank" in Minneapolis.
 The "West Bank" is an area just off the University of Minnesota's campus on
 the west bank of the Mississippi River. The main campus is on the east bank
 of the river. The West Bank was a long time blue collar community that had
 substantial amount of affordable housing and a very active night life. It
 was a place to go in the sixties to buy drugs and to connect with the
 scene in the Twin Cities. The University of Minnesota's Art School had
 studios on the West Bank. I could shoot photos in the "House of Mirrors and
 skip over to the darkrooms in the Art School to process the film when I
 first began this project as a student at the University.

 Developers were buying land at every opportunity with the goal of
 gentrifying the West Bank. They were remaking it into expensive high-rise
 apartments and building nightclubs with cover charges to keep out the lower
 income residents. They used the allure of the artists living there to draw
 higher income renters to the area. There was organized opposition by those
 who called it home but they had little financial clout and all the other
 forces - including the University of Minnesota - were on the side of the
 developers. Naturally, the artists who were used to start the process off
 were among the first to be moved on when the rents rose. The "House of
 Mirrors" was another obstacle in the developers' way. It was owned by an
 ex-state senator,, Ralph Maywood. He knew how to bargain to get the most
 of those buying up the West Bank.

 Ralph Maywood had sold himself as a working man's representative pandering
 to the prejudices and fears of his constituency to become elected to the
 state Senate while other men his age were heading off to World War II. His
 career in the Senate was not notable. He worked his way onto a committee
 that oversaw regulation of Old Folks Homes in the state of Minnesota. He
 bought a string of them around the Twin Cities. These he managed for nearly
 twenty years housing many of the aging residents who had voted him into
 office. Those poor soles suffered for their support of the Senator. He
 neglected all of his clients horribly. In the late fifties, as a new
 generation of politicians climbed into power he was not able to maintain
 power base. The Minneapolis Star & Tribune exposed his homes for their
 dangerous conditions and for the negligent care the elderly received. He
 lost his license to operate all of his homes. Then he lost his Senate seat.
 He sold all his properties except the one on the West Bank, the "House of
 Mirrors." This he reopened as a flophouse and managed while living on the

 Glen was an ex-pimp, busted in Iowa after he became involved with an
 underage business partner. He was transferred around while doing Federal
 time because it was an Interstate offense, "crossing state lines" as he
 it. He came to the Twin Cities once he got out of prison. Ralph made trips
 to the welfare office to help some of his "regular" tenants collect their
 rent payment for him. Glen landed in the "House of Mirrors" after meeting
 Ralph Maywood at the welfare office.

 Just out of prison, Glen was not so proud as to be unable to see the
 humanity in the "regulars" trapped at the "House of Mirrors" in Maywood's
 manor. He saw through the ex-Senator. Glen was not a "regular." In his
 thirties, he had a lot of life to look forward to. Glen enjoyed life too
 much to be caught - ".like a fly on fly paper," as he said one day
 to a "regular." Whoever he referred to - it fit quite a few of the broken
 men who stayed there. Glen became part of my art project.

 Glen was teaching himself the guitar. It was through Glen, who liked to
 out at the night spots where music was performed, that I met Mona. The two
 months I had planned to spend living at the "House of Mirrors" were nearly
 over. That night Glen and I were on our way over to the Northside of
 Minneapolis to catch a band he hoped to sing for.

 It was an African American establishment featuring jazz and blues we meant
 to visit. We expected to have a party good time. We met Mona at the bus
 outside the "House of Mirrors" at the intersection called "Seven Corners"
 for the seven corners at that spot. Glen introduced himself to her lit up a
 conversation. She liked music and agreed to hook up with us that night.

 At the club - Glen and Mona disagreed discussing the role of women. She
 jumped up and did a solo dance with a booty shake just for me - or so I
 thought. Glen was not happy. They had another argument later outside. Mona
 took the bus back to the West Bank but not before she had given me a phone

 Later I called her up and she invited me to meet her where she was staying
 with friends on the west side of St. Paul - far from the West Bank of
 Minneapolis. When I visited her we connected and she came to stay with me
 for a week before returning to Duluth, Minnesota where she had recently
 to visit the Twin Cities. Mona put Duluth on my mind. All I needed was an

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