I remember when we started Beep Beep out of the old Oakhurst house 3 years ago I went to galleries like L'Avenue, Youngblood, and Eyedrum. We were still making new issues of Metatronic and pushing them on all the art cats we knew. When L'Avenue became Beep Beep I started frequenting places like YoYo, Foundation One, New Street, and Rabbithole, and as things progressed more and more spots were springing up (Mint, Get This!, Opal). While all these galleries certainly comprise a fairly specific local scene (that being the young "indie" Atlanta art world), it meant that there was a lot going on. I felt like there were shows I wanted to go to every weekend if only to show support for friends you know?
So now in those 3 years YoYo, L'Avenue, Foundation One, New Street, and from what I hear now Rabbithole have all closed. And what's even worse is that many others in town have closed as well during this time. I even thought that YB was going to close before they found their new (and infinitely better) space.
What's even more interesting is that the economy has nothing to do with any of this! People are always asking us about the economy "So how's art business in this economy?" or I bet people aren't buying art in this economy?" Yeah it's true times are definitely rough for all of us in the arts, but who gives a shit? I'd definitely like to have more money to spend on repairs, advertising, a mailbox etc, but that wasn't the reason we or any of the aforementioned galleries got into this biz. A lot of them hung it up to change cities or focus on their art, music, whatever. That's the beauty and tragedy of my favorite kinds of art spaces: it's all out of love, the love of art and the love of connecting people to it. The only real struggle is keeping things interesting so that the love doesn't get stale or get in the way of your life.
I guess I write all this not to whine or to pat Beep on the back for lasting this long (2 1/2 years what an eternity) but rather hopefully to get more people opening spaces! Anybody can do it! We started a gallery with one month's rent and a bucket of Kilz. Same with Youngblood, Mint, and others. Fuck the money, grab some love and come on.
Coffeeshops, house shows, and similar spots are rad too but we've been there. Restaurants lack control (lighting, space, management) and houses lack accesibility (one night shows, directions/location, people fucking live there the rest of the time). We need more galleries stat! We're tired of hogging all the good artists! Haha
Please check out KRK Ryden's show in December which will unfortunately be Rabbithole's last joint. Hopefully it's like Jay-z's retirement and they'll come back in 6 months.
So I like top check out the local art blogs to read about what's going on around town and whatnot, and one website I used to check out was Neda Abghari's Atlanta Creatives Project which at some point was profiling local artists (where'd you go Neda?) So when I saw stickers around town I thought "Man, Neda hangs out in a lot of dude's bathrooms." That is until today when I found ATL Creativeswhich is a totally different site with an extremely similar goal to the aforementioned Atlanta Creatives Project: "Introduce the world to Atlanta’s creative community." Now both have some great content as well as admirable intentions, and I could care less about which one came first, but what's the deal here?
Furthermore what does it say about Atlanta that these two creative websites share basically the same name? Is it enough to imply that the talents that various organizations (Beep Beep included) represent or spotlight will shine through without some glossing? Does this make your artists or whatever more accesible or more generic? For example if you were to call your group simply "The Art People" would that be interpreted as "awshucks we're humble and unpretentious" or would it be interpreted as "we're not very original so we picked some Google words that people would associate with easily." I mean we're all looking for easy words to get people to remember us by (YES WE CAN!) but c'mon! If I were interested in Boston arts and there was a site called Boston Art Stuff I would assume is was a high school web designer's B+ project.
I'm not saying our's is the most original, magnificent, and ball bustinest art flavored moniker ever :) but I do personally believe that dumbing it down to reach a broader audience should be reserved for daytime television and not for the purveyors of local arts culture.
But perhaps this is a different strokes for different folks kind of thing.
P.S. Props to great names and peeps who represent our fair city: Rabbithole Gallery, Eyedrum, Burn Away, Thought Marker, Dry Ink, Bare and Bitter Sleep, Youngblood and a ton of others.