Date: Mon, Apr 2, 2012 at 12:36 PM
Subject: A CAC we can Embrace
Dear Board of Directors,
My name is Andrea Ferguson and I am one of the artists with work currently on exhibition in Spaces. Although I have lived in New Orleans for nearly 5 years and was a founding member of The Front in 2008, I still feel like a relative newcomer to the New Orleans arts community. In many ways, since I arrived in the city in 2007, New Orleans has been rich with opportunity for me as an emerging artist. I was awarded a residency at LA Artworks and shortly there after was invited to help form The Front. Even though my experience at LA Artworks was generally disappointing, it lead to my engagement with the artists working on St. Claude which has been extremely rewarding and fruitful. It is an absolute pleasure to dedicate my free time to The Front and I cannot express how deeply I respect everyone involved with making the entire St. Claude art community function as a vibrant locus for contemporary art in New Orleans. The hard work of everyone involved should be noticed and celebrated (and is every 2nd Saturday). Unfortunately, what was meant to do exactly that has proven to be little more than another frustrating obstacle for us to endure and overcome.
It was not until we began planning this exhibition that I had any real experience with the CAC and as a result, I feel ill equipped to speak about the years of dysfunction that frustrate so many of my colleagues. I will say, however, that my singular experience with the CAC has been fairly unpleasant and discouraging overall. In the case of this particular exhibit, a simple lack of communication from the CAC about several issues surrounding the show have myself, and I’m fairly certain, the entire St. Claude art community feeling disrespected, undervalued and generally confused (among other things). What’s worse to me though is how participating in this exhibit has proven to be extremely divisive and damaging, and has threatened the very connectivity it’s meant to celebrate. For that, I hold the CAC accountable.
As you meet and plan for the future I ask that you consider the artists represented in the Spaces exhibit as part of your constituency. Please be critical of the particular issues surrounding Spaces, as well as of the CAC’s ability to serve the visual art community on a whole. While I can only speak for myself, I am certain that aside from all of the frustration and bad feelings, everyone’s end goal is for a more successful and productive Contemporary Art Center. I am certainly committed to helping to achieve that however I am able. Please don’t hesitate to contact me if I can be of any assistance.
– Andrea Ferguson
Senior Media Editor
The Louisiana Endowment for the Humanities