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Friday, January 19, 2007

The Musagetes Foundation is not eclectic, exploratory, catalytic, adroit, brave or humble.

Howdy!

You'll need the following documents:

1. Yesterday's press release in French.
2. Yesterday's press release in English.
3. The First Musagetes Foundation.
4. The Second Musagetes Foundation.

I got the press release in French, wondered what Culture Montreal was up to. Found and read the English version. In both languages there is an awful lot of multi-syllabic bureaucratic gobbledy-gook. But at the end it appears that Michael Barnstijn and Louise MacCallum are using some of their money to send Simon Brault and Jocelyn Harvey to London.

Strike one in my books. I fail to see how flying career bureaucrats to London (England) is necessary in order to "promote the role of art in contemporary society."

Then, once I got over the giggle about Kazakhstan (Borat is pervasive). I went through the other Musagetes Foundation's website. and initially really liked this quote: "the Foundation will have $2 million/year to spend." But then I went and read their manifesto (how much of the $2 million went to translating it?) where I unfortunately came across these quotes:
1. "It will encourage and take part in serious, action-focused, intellectual inquiry related to artistic creativity and its transformative effects." - My translation; we will organize meetings, take notes, and look serious while we sit around a big board room table and talk about art and how much we like it.
2. "It will operate mainly by convening - by creating living experiences, some small, some large, that bring people together to articulate social needs, generate ideas and spark action." - My Translation; in case you missed it the first time around we will organize meetings, take notes, and look serious while we sit around a big board room table and talk about art and how much we like it.
3. "Because Musagetes' mission and focus are new and radical (to our knowledge, not replicated elsewhere)..." Obviously they missed the memo about FooCamp, BarCamp and Unconferencing. And if I might note, BarCamp and Unconferencing generally don't cost a plugged nickel.
4. 'Musagetes' work will include: Definition... Fellowship/solidarity... [and] Transformative events/calls for action." Notice the distinct lack or the word 'creation' or anything approaching a synonym or conjugation of the verb 'to create.'
And that's at the root of what annoys the heck out of me about the Musagetes Foundation. They are spending $2 million each and every year under the guise of supporting the arts - without giving, spending, or offering a single cent to (red or otherwise) artists, or art. Why don't they call a spade a spade and just say "we are rich, we would like a break on our taxes, thank you very much?"

And yes, the Musagetes Foundation has exposed itself to being mocked. But unlike what they call themselves I don't think they are being eclectic, exploratory, catalytic, adroit, brave or humble.

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