From: Jessica Bizer

Dear Contemporary Art Center Board of Directors,

As a founding member of Good Children Gallery, I appreciate the Contemporary Arts Center’s efforts to showcase work from the St, Claude-area collectives.  However, the manner in which the CAC handled filming for The Tomb led me to pull my work from Spaces.

I’m not bothered by the movie rental on principle.  I understand that many institutions rent out their spaces for a variety of events and this activity is critical source of funding.  I also accept that such rentals may interrupt scheduled exhibition hours.

However, the CAC did not give Spaces artists any advance notice of the closure planned for April.  I learned of the schedule change while working with fellow Good Children Gallery member Lala Rascic on her Posing Process piece. She found out about the movie during a chance encounter with film crew members.  The CAC informed artists of the schedule change only after many of us complained to Jay Weigel.  This situation is unacceptable and is the the reason I removed my work from the exhibition.  The CAC should have notified artists as soon as the institution made the schedule changes. 

While I believe this situation is the result of an accidental oversight, rather than an intentional slight towards the artists, the issue leads me to be concerned about the priorities of the CAC.  By failing to inform us, the CAC demonstrated disrespect toward the artists it is supposed to be an advocate for.  

Additionally, the unannounced closure is troubling for the impact it could have on artists’ careers.  A sudden schedule change could lead an artist to miss out on critical professional opportunities. For instance, when I have an exhibition, I invite fellow art professionals, such as curators, critics and other artists to view the show. Often these individuals are visiting from out-of -town and have only a brief period of time in which to see my work. Such  visits are a critical component of promoting my artwork and maintaining professional relationships.  I would be terribly embarrassed and disappointed if one of these visitors arrived at the CAC, only to find that the building is closed. 

Also, it is clear from previous film shoots during Spaces that the CAC has been a poor advocate for protecting artists’ work  (Rachel Brown’s and Bob Snead’s pieces for example). This behavior makes me concerned about the shoot in April. 

Addressing such issues is critical to the future success of the CAC.  I believe the institution can learn from its professional missteps during Spaces.  I hope this letter, and the letters of my colleagues, are starting points for a constructive dialogue between artists and board members.


Jessica Bizer

Good Children Gallery