06 January, 2011

6 Jan - SITE Santa Fe SPREAD

LAUNCHPROJECTS - I had lunch today with Irene Hofmann, the recently appointed Director of SITE Santa Fe, to hear about SPREAD, SITE's new community-based granting initiative.
Based on the models of FEAST in Brooklyn and inCUBATE in Chicago (with other iterations in Portland and Minneapolis) SPREAD is a recurring public dinner designed to generate community-driven financial support to fund artistic innovation. At each SPREAD dinner, participants pay a sliding-scale entrance fee for which they receive dinner and a ballot. During dinner, the SPREAD audience will hear short proposals from up to eight artists for innovative and yet-to-be-realized new projects. The eight finalists will be selected by a small group of community artists, dancers, performers, filmmakers and curators. Diners will then cast their votes for their favorite project. At the end of dinner, the artist whose proposal receives the most votes will be awarded all of the funds collected at the door to realize their project. In cash (see image above).
We immediately responded to a grass-roots initiative entirely dependent upon community engagement and the concept that anyone willing to spend $15 - $50 to participate equally mattered in how the money would be awarded. The direct relationship between those providing funding and those receiving the grant creates a immediacy and transparency uncommon in the art world. Further, the more supportive the community - attendance of diners, donations of food and other goods from local businesses, financial support - the more successful each local granting cycle becomes.
Although these small grants will never replace larger granting organizations and major-donors who are indispensable to the success of the arts in our community, small amounts can add up to a lot. These micro-grants empower the community and provide an opportunity for many promising New Mexico artists to realize goals they would not otherwise have the means to achieve.

03 January, 2011

3 Jan - Missing Helmut Lohr

LAUNCHPROJECTS - It was with great sadness that we learned of Helmut Lohr's passing on Christmas Day. A bright and shining heart, incredible intuition, remarkable contributions to the art world. We have lost an elegant and pioneering voice in art, performance, music, energy work, and experimental science.

I first met Helmut in the Spring of 2001. A recent transplant to Santa Fe from Paris to direct EVO Gallery, I stood in the crowd at one of our first openings frankly wondering what I was doing in Santa Fe and feeling a little lost. At that moment a stunningly handsome gentleman who beamed with a tender and slightly mischievous grin walked up to me. I held out my hand to formally introduce myself and Helmut enveloped me in a hug, whispering in his thick German accent "thank you for joining this community."

That was the beginning of a long and tender friendship. I was still very young and new to the larger art world, Helmut taught me that heady conceptual art can also be beautiful, heartfelt, and energy-giving. Helmut managed a large exhibition schedule throughout the world and together we created exhibitions, performances, and interventions in Santa Fe, Minneapolis, New York, London, Frankfurt, Munich, and Ruhr. Although an internationally celebrated artist, Helmut chose to relocate to New Mexico to lead a solitary and peaceful existence on Rowe Mesa. On the Mesa he created lush gardens, built a contemporary home, nurtured koi ponds and water lilies, and made his extraordinary objects of art. The entirety of his existence was artful and everyone who made the pilgrimage to see him on the Mesa came back restored, inspired, joyful.

Helmut leaves behind a legacy of innovation in art, music, energy work, and performance. He also leaves an important lesson in generosity and true love. I will always remember his beautiful face and generous smile, deep and joyful laugh, and the way he looked so deeply into my eyes when we talked that words often felt superfluous. We are all so sad to see him go.

In the words and memories of other friends and admirers:

"What a loss. His performances were the most ethereal experiences. He brought a teddy bear from Germany when my son was born. I'll definitely miss conversations with him. I'm sure his soul is in a beautiful place. He was a gentle and beautiful person." - Jon Carver

"A kind, loving human being. Balanced, sensitive, creative, interested. He will be missed." - Ylise Kessler

"Helmut was a kind and gentle man. I met him only briefly two years ago after an introduction by Cyndi at Helmut's studio in Rowe. In the few hours spent at his home viewing his art and enjoying tea, I remember Helmut's generous and open heart. He will be missed by all those who were lucky enough to have met him." -Ben Lincoln

"He was such a good person. I remember driving with you to visit his studio on a beautiful day many years ago. He used to enjoy sitting in front of Downtown Subscription and I would go over and chat with him. He was also a brilliant artist. We will all miss him." - Edward Borins

"Our beloved Helmut... love to you in all of our great loss." - Alexandra Eldridge

Love to all in our great loss. Let us all practice love, compassion, and kindness in memory of Helmut Lohr.