From: Megan Roniger

Date: Tue, Apr 3, 2012 at 5:17 PM
Subject: A call for CHANGE at the CAC

Fellow Artists, Members of the Press, CAC Staff, and Members of the CAC Board,

My name is Megan Roniger.  I am a member of The Front and a participating artist in the Spaces show currently on view at the Contemporary Arts Center.  Like many of my peers, I am writing today to respectfully inform you of my grievances with the CAC.  I would like to preface those grievances with a request to all who read them: please understand that the artists who have spoken and acted out over recent events at the CAC do so because they care.  They are wholeheartedly invested in this incredible arts community, and their anger, disgust, disappointment and disenfranchisement should not be dismissed or misinterpreted.  As an active member of the New Orleans arts community, I am honored to be among so many artists who actually give a damn about the continued growth and success of The Arts in this city.
Many of my peers have also written letters explaining their opinions about the CAC, sighting instances of wrong-doing, mismanagement, disappointment, etc.  I, too, could list many such occurrences here, but I’ve decided to keep my letter as brief and to-the-point as possible.  Therefore, I will say that my overarching complaint is that the Contemporary Arts Center is in complete neglect of its Mission.  I believe that all of my complaints and all of the countless documented accounts from my peers more than prove that, for some time, this non-profit institution has failed to serve the needs of the community it purports to lead, and therefore its non-profit status should be called into question.  The Mission and Statement of Purpose, pulled directly from the Contemporary Arts Center website reads:
The CAC is a multi-disciplinary arts center, financially stable and professionally managed, that is dedicated to the presentation, production and promotion of the art of our time.
Statement of Purpose:
The CAC is a cultural leader. As such, it organizes, presents and tours curated exhibitions, performances and programs by local, regional, national and international artists. It demonstrates proactive local and regional leadership by educating children and adults; cultivating and growing audiences; and initiating and encouraging collaboration among diverse artists, institutions, communities and supporters.
I ask you all, would a “financially stable” institution prioritize event rental opportunities over its arts programming?  Would a “professionally managed” institution not communicate directly, in a timely manner to affected artists and the public, changes in show dates, gallery hours, unauthorized artwork relocation, and so on?  How can the CAC be a “cultural leader” if the majority of its community openly says that they never see anything of interest or import at the CAC, except for shows curated in recent years by Dan Cameron and Amy Mackie?  And how are we supposed to stand quietly aside while the CAC destroys the first REAL effort to reconnect its institution to the Contemporary Arts in this city (that is to say, its current exhibitions of over 100 local visual artists)?  The current administration at the Contemporary Arts Center, for which its Board of Directors is COMPLICIT must CHANGE!  The Board should be outraged that every single artist showing at the CAC, as well as those who have shown in the recent past and those scheduled to show in the near future would, for the most part, rather not have a show at all than have a show with them.  Everyone should be outraged that an institution like the CAC, with so much potential and history, is rotting from the inside out.
I hope my feelings laid out in this letter are met with thoughtful consideration, at the very least.
Megan Roniger
New Orleanian, Visual Artist, Member of The Front
Below was posted in place of my work featured in the Spaces exhibition:
Dear Viewer,
My name is Megan Roniger, and I am a New Orleans artist and member of The Front collective.  As of today, my piece Cultivar is no longer on view as part of the show Spaces: Antenna, The Front, and Good Children Gallery.  My decision to remove my work from this show comes from my desire to sever all ties with the Contemporary Arts Center and return to the productive and supportive community of artists beyond the CAC’s walls, a community that I and many others have worked diligently to foster.  Until the CAC addresses the changes needed to restore its own integrity and return to the work laid out in it’s Mission, I will not to support this institution by exhibiting my work.  I am eager for the CAC to resolve its troubles, and become the kind of place that I can support.  I want the CAC to thrive and be the leader in contemporary arts that it claims to be!  But until that time, I cannot in good conscience keep my work on its walls.
Respectfully and With a Heavy Heart,
Megan Roniger