Sunday, January 21, 2007

Future Madison arts incubator?

Some in the Madison arts community have big hopes for this old, empty feed mill behind Olbrich Botanical Gardens on the city's east side, which provided a picturesque background for the snow that fell Sunday.
The former Garver Feed Mill may look like a ruin to most people, but Madison's arts community sees an incubator waiting to be chipped from the crumbling brick and mortar.

A grass-roots movement to convert the century-old building, adjacent to Olbrich Botanical Gardens, to a place for artists of all kinds to create, exhibit, perform, teach and perhaps even live emerged Thursday at a meeting of a city panel charged with charting its re-use.

If the Madison community can come up with $205 million for the Overture Center, a "showplace" that does not embrace local artists, it can find the money to recast the old industrial building into a place where artwork is crafted, poet Esther Cameron said.
You can find out more about the plans here.


Dr Diablo said...

Artists always want to be subsidized when, in reality, not enough is done to discourage them. I have acquaintances who, heedless of the glut, keep throwing clay pots and feeling rebuffed by the world when there's no market for them. A guy I know paints endless ho-hum still lifes with titles like "Teapot with Radish". He's runing out of objects to juxtapose. In no area of endeavor besides Art does supply so overwhelmingly outstrip demand.

For a lot less money, that old mill could serve a much broader segment of the community. It could become a Reader's Retreat to which a disconsolate reader could repair when bogged down in an ambitious reading project. If you were stuck on page 37 of, say, Pynchon's AGAINST THE DAY, you could check in and stay until you were finished. A Commons room with coffee and lorna doons would be the only modification it would need, since the idea would be to create an environment with no attractive alternatives to reading; people wouldn't even be allowed to swap books.

Madison Guy said...

Spoken like a true novelist, Dr. Diablo -- drumming up book demand by creating publicly subsidized reading rooms so unpleasant they force people to read more and more books, just for lack of an alternative.