March 28, 2012

Arts and Labor meeting minutes, Wednesday, March 28, 2012
facilitator ASe, stack IE, time BR, minutes BY


Agenda items/proposals:
1. Tensta Konsthall (Stockholm) invitation to speak. [PROPOSAL PASSED]
2. intern working group letter campaign [PROPOSAL PASSED]
3. Alt Econ reportback, grants
4. debriefing/visions session [PROPOSAL PASSED]
5. May day arts coalition, activities


AB: anti-police violence march, group from A&L carried “peace state” banner. not a lot of violence overall, but arrests that did happen were aggressive. maybe 500 people.
BY: Maybe that many when we started, but lot more by time at Union Sq. Yeah, some tactical problems, needed more people to take the street at Mott so we didn’t get split up, cops were harassing people not on sidewalk even when there was no room. Did grow as we went, positive overall.

PW: now with what’s called Intern Labor Rights working group, asked to report back. Been meeting regularly, looking to get consensus on upcoming plan. Wasn’t much follow up on NYFA letter; want to expand it to six job boards (NYFA,,,,,, Revised the original letter, will post on GG for comments, small revisions re: for-profit business, mentioning other job boards being contacted, letting them know press releases will also go out to press, try to get them to respond. Made contact info more prominent, want to use OWS A&L address for now, considering a voicemail box for press contacts that’s not someone’s personal number.
AB: Is this a proposal?
PW: I can tell you which parts will be part of the proposal.
BR: Announcements now, let’s save details for proposal.
C: Also letter to universities & Tumblr site in the works.
PW: Big check sign project in the works for M1.
IE: Is MC from Portland involved? She posted something asking students to bypass Sotheby’s internships.
PW: We’ll contact her.

TRAPPERJOHN: Union group meets every Sun. Have been amassing research, interviewing unions, people from UAW, wobblies, scenic union, writers guild, dramatist guild. Research ramping down, will be consolidated into pamphlet or publication, then question of how to adapt info to deal with art industry. Workshop, consense on it. Tumblr a bit comical, act of several individuals in group, not consensed, but if you want to post demands go ahead. Name “Art Liberation Front” aka ALF also started as joke/prank, but has now been activated. TRAPPERJOHN organizing town hall discussion, Apr 13 @ NYU, Art School In the Age of Occupy: Is Another Art World Possible? Panelists: MW, AG(?), CT, owner of postmasters, director of sculpture center. But want to invite everyone to come as active participants, get other edu communities to come. What kind of art world are students being prepared for? How do we change this art world or generate alternatives to it?

ASe: report back from Commons Coalition, alt econ is part of it, in queens, on Sat. First location  already a difficult scenario, shop owners upset that city had shut down road to make ped plaza and so the owners shout down anyone who tries to use it. Diverse crowd but were still attacked by them. Occupy Queens and Think Tank had been liasing w/the area, having assemblies but they have dwindled some. Second location: Immigrants Movement Int’l. Met w/immigrant organizers. Emerald Isle Immigration Center (LIC?), Workers Justice Project (started 2 immigrant worker co-ops: Apple Eco cleaning, also a caterer; also offer legal assistance to community), Queens Community House (English classes, services for seniors & youth, foreclosure prevention, credit unions). Wd like to work w/them or coordinate w/them. That area has almost no sense of occupy. As immigrants they are hesitant to even come to Manhattan, demos, areas here. A “what could we do here?” situation.

Art & the Commons workshop in Catskill. In alt econ meeting was a little unclear what was happening w/it. [Fuller report back on this happens later in the meeting]

OWS cluster meeting this Sun, Apr 1, 6–10 PM, The Commons Brooklyn, 388 Atlantic Ave. Probly after Brooklyn Bridge anniversary march. Haven’t received RSVP for arts & labor yet, let me know if we can have someone represent.

BR: Sotheby’s protest at MoMA this Fri, Mar 30. Meet at 5:30 PM @ 53rd & 6th Ave to go over together if you want, otherwise 6 PM in lobby. Will have A&L tshirts we made to hand out. DM making big ties to cut (i.e., cut ties w/Sotheby’s).
AB: Fun, powerful, wd go if not out of town.
PW: how long will it last?
LB: about an hour.

GS: Rashi Salti may skype us on Fri [or Sat? ASh mentions Sat later in meeting] re: Syrian situation, as part of Radical Arts Group at AG’s studio, resistance by artists who were traditionally trained doing political art, and by others not artists now doing art.

Agenda items/proposals:

1. Tensta Konsthall (Stockholm) invitation to speak.
AB: Intro and 3 part proposal. GS announced invite to Tensta Konsthall for report on 1 yr of A&L, what’s ahead. GS said he cd go, would be happier for others to go. Got back to curator Maria Lind w/Qs: originally $1500 budget, 1) ML agreed to bring 2 people but alluded she had to dig for it. 2) Dates: Sept 9 or Oct 6. 3) Necessary for GS to come? ML said wd really like to have him speak on these issues. 4) ML says Skype not possible, in her experience doesn’t work well w/ public events.
AB put proposal together:
A.1) say yes, but w/3 selected persons. ask for more money for 3rd, see if we can fundraise if she can’t provide money, but we don’t offer to chip in right away.
A.2) agree to give presentation on A&L. do research on Tensta as institution to see if anything contradicts A&L mission statement.
A.3) push for skype connection, try to get agreement on sending a recording if skype not possible.
B.1) self-selection process amongst ourselves
B.2) final outlines of presentation presented for consensus
C.1) cost of 3rd person’s expenses: could pool existing funding from invite
Q: when do we decide who goes?
AB: later, just getting consensus on agreeing to go now.
Q: what do we know about Tensta?
AB: heard from MC who was in residence in Stockholm. Artist Wm Easton opened it up to immigrant community where it was located, edu/outreach program. When ML arrived there, she renovated the building but cut outreach program. ML former head of Bard CCS, Kunstverein Munich. David Graeber giving talk and getting haircut on their website. Walid Raad gave a talk. Is a question of: who’s benefiting? Is A&L? Is TK just getting cultural capital?
GS: Am fine w/proposal, want to finesse wording if it goes to ML. Think politics of space a little diff’t issue.
AB: if proposal does pass, we’d draft formal proposal to ML, have that language approved.
GS: and wd then like it that she communicate directly w/group, not just thru me.
ASe: wondering where all cultural capital goes; what about meeting up w/arts groups there, listening to local situation, nobody likes pop-ins. Swedish A&L branch?
AB: did mention it a little that we’d reach out to other groups, but could make it more explicit.
IE: gonna talk w/an artist returning from Stockholm, in on Occupy camps, will get DL.
C: has this come up locally? first time?
AB: first formal invite.
BR: AB & I already had back & forth: concerned about no. of people & fundraising. Have talked about it in OM. If we do fundraising, it’s whole other realm of activities, requires more energy, management, negotiation. Cd do it, but want it to be something we do. Want us to think about budget we need for all the things we do. Wd rather see 2 people, get it paid for, collect the money. Not convinced what that 3rd person gives us.
AB: I thought you were insistent on the 3rd person.
BR: Wd love it, but not the fundraising.
AB: with $1500 for 3 days, that sounds like a lot of money to me, times two, $3000 is a lot, cd stretch it, supplement it. Are you suggesting we have larger A&L fund?
BR: don’t want fundraising to be just in response to this opportunity; set our own agenda.
TRAPPERJOHN: Have some close contacts in Stockholm, academics, so whoever goes who wants more local background on institution, etc., can put you in touch. If it was more than just speaking opportunity at this one place, cd reach out to two art schools there, maybe funding can come from another source if it’s a sequence of talks.
LB: Like idea of 3 people, other venues. Q: GS still going?
GS: I don’t especially want to go, but will if I have to if that’s what it takes for it to happen.
LB: Fuzzy about the timeline.
AB: we have 6 mo to develop.
ASe: I think fundraising for 3rd person, sets a priority, tone, what we’re funding. Coming from alt econ meeting, trying to get pennies for basic projects in the community. There are art workers in the queens, the Bronx, think those should be the priority. Private donations from affinity group are fine. But requires bigger discussion for how we raise, allocate, funds.
C: Think it’ really good to go speak places. But art institutions are dangerous b/c can be neutralized. Can we word things so that it’s not a panel discussion.
GS: Not a panel discussion, it’s a presentation.
BR: We can make the presentation however we want it. Proposal is just that we say yes we want to do it, can develop what we want to do after.
MC: Curious about BR’s experience in Stockholm/Sweden.
BR: was up north 7 hrs, was only in Stockholm 48 hrs.
MC: well no question that you will be used by this institution, Q of whether you want to turn it into something.
IE: Like the idea of making multiple speaking engagements, decentralizes power. Makes it less isolated.
MC: but will be same crowd.
GS: Yes, might want to gang up w/other institutions in the city. But might want to get invites also from other countries, if already in europe. Re: proposal, really interesting how group has to narrate its story, super interesting to see what you come up with.
LB: Think it’s exciting, don’t have to see it just as being used, we didn’t use gran fury, was education, feel positive and excited on it.
AB: okay, amendment, if we insist on skype/livestream, we need someone to do that on NYC end and coordinate w/Stockholm, has to be appointed.
BR: Amendment: take out A&L fundraising for third person. Can still propose a third person to go.
GS: Cd be phrased as: “We’d like a third person to go and we’re exploring other invitations/opportunities in Stockhold to help pay for this.”
AB: Last amendment: strike bit about fundraising, wd like 3rd person to come, exploring other opportunities in Stockholm.
ASe: temp check positive, any stand asides? [CONSENSUS]
AB: great, can GS take proposal to ML.
GS: can send it to her, put a personal note on it, tell her point people to contact, cc me on it going fwd.
AB: I can be point person on getting proposal to ML. Others who want to be point people? LB, BR, GS.

2. intern working group letter campaign
PW: Expanding NYFA letter to other job boards. Want to get consensus on sending letter, making this campaign. Will post letter to GG for comments for next 2 days. Apr 16 target date for jobs boards letter and press release (no text yet for latter). Want to discuss how to interact w/job boards & press: sending and responding from OWS A&L gmail, but also want to set up Googlevoice voicemail box. Eventually someone will have to call back on their own phone, but press inquiries will go to one VM box. Not sure about protocol for dealing w/press.
C: yes, proposal is to okay the campaign to go to job boards, post letter for comments for 2 days, then move fwd w/it.
AB: Think this project is fantastic, w/posting the letter 2 days, would suggest posting for the week if possible. Guess it’s a friendly amendment.
BR: Is stuff in bold just what’s changed? Are changes small?
PW: No, but 90% is the same. Have added links, people don’t get it, think they can ignore what’s going on despite burst of energy and research, lawsuits, around this issue. Let job boards know its an issue-wide campaign, they’re not solely being targeted.
BW: Is this step 1, and then step 2 to universities? Same letter?
PW: No, that would be diff’t letter to universities. Draft in works. Could even go after individual, particularly egregious organizations down the road if we wanted. Disney, Comedy Central, Atlantic Records, Vogue, whatever.
LB: when do you meet?
PW: Wed nights at HENS.
IE: Great, curious why these specific websites chosen?
PW: wanted to hit diff’t arts fields beyond visual arts/NYFA. Narrowed down to 6 that seemed imp’t, specific to certain industries. Could be expanded.
IE: I think is an important one.
C: Not sure how that got lost. . .
PW: think they’re based in UK, we’re relying on US Dept of Labor standards to make the case. Some didn’t think this imp’t. Maybe we can go back and look at it. We cd add it.
C: Have been using 6 as magic number. . .
BW: wondering if you’re excluding commercial arts, mediabistro?
PW: Looked at it, but didn’t more fwd, more like craigslist, explicitly claim they’re not responsible for the content—they’re not accepting/rejecting things in listing content the way something like NYFA is.
PW: Proposal to expand to 6, plus friendly amendment of, 7, boards
PW: Posting letter, had friendly amendment to make it a week of revisions before it comes back?
BR: Think if it’s a week, should come just back to the meeting. Or stick with 3 days.
PW: Okay, beyond 2 days, how about until Sunday.
[temp check, CONSENSUS]
PW: Proposal for voicemail box.
ASe: Q: how much does it cost?
PW: Seems to be free.
C: Also situation in which transcribed VM cd be sent to email address. Then Q of who will monitor it.
PW: wanted to test the waters on VM for press contacts.
C: Could get google phone no., but have to pay for that.
LB: I trust you guys, great to bring it to us, maybe deal with it later?
PW: Would put the # on the letter.
LB: No problem with using someone’s cellphone, or google VM on the letter.
BR: Amendment, clarify on VM that it’s for internship working group, not for A&L as a whole. Also, what is policy with using people’s names in dealing with press? Reporters want a name, not an anonymous group.
AB: Correct me if I’m wrong, but have said anyone can speak to press but have to clarify that you’re speaking autonomously, not for group.
BR: Issue is people don’t speak as “we” for everyone.
PW: Press wants individuals. In any case, proposal for VM box?
PW: Apr 16 as target date for mailing letter?

3. Alt Econ reportback, grants
ASe: want to report back on Alt Econ, was waiting for someone to show up.
ASh: I think Alt Econ still trying to write a grant for FEAST? $1000 for a project, sponsoring 20 projects. Wd use it to hire one person to work for 12-18 hours, to get subgroup work together, make it more coherent. Deadline supposed to be tomorrow but not sure anything has gone out yet, no one here with language.
ASe: budgeting not clear: $1000 for person, but also broken down by materials and labor. Seems like it wd be alt econ subprojects: artists co-ops, commons projects, other projects.
ASh: Or piggy bank think, where each person out of 11 puts in $50 a month, that one person cd draw from per month for projects. That’s not really A&L thing, more group of individuals. Still room for discussion of what alt econ would do with FEAST money if they get it.
ASe: diners pay $10 night for dinner, 8 finalists selected from proposals, present project to diners, everybody votes, one group gets funds.
BR: They do it by theme, and this one was for cultural labor, up our alley. But cd do other themes later.
ASe: Art & the Commons workshops organized with Maria, in the Catskills. [passes text on flyers w/ questions around art, commons, community]. Talk about it in OM too.
MC: why the catskills?
ASe: Big 3 month project, call from Fawn Potash(?) and Gene Rodriguez, thru Arts & Culture, Occupy w/Art, organizing space on main street in Catskill. Deadline was Feb 2.
LB: Is it possible to have informal talk there?
ASe: Have been trying to get people to go up, but contact A&C main organizers, Imani, Paul, etc. if you’re interested. Train ticket isn’t cheap to get up there.
I’ve been interested in looking into alternative strategies for the circulation of art and culture outside of the market. Learning from the idea of The Commons, as the protection and management of shared resources, I’m interested in facilitating workshops around ways that art and culture can take on this model, or a combination of other alternative models. Although I don’t think the market will disappear or stop influence, or interfering, I do have hope that such a system can be created in the public realm, these workshops are to discover and learn from communities.

The first series workshops have been focused on the reciprocity of culture. Firstly who is sharing culture in the market and what are the existing agreements that are in place? Secondly what is shared when a cultural exchange takes place, exactly what is given/received? Thirdly, what is the relationship between a community and the artists in that community?

If interested please reach out:

4. debriefing/visions session
BR: proposal for doodle to decide day for retreat. initially focused around actions, debriefing. idea was to have outside facilitator. found someone part of Think Tank, M1 Arts Coalition, they liked a lot. Time w/most votes was next Tue, Apr 3. Second most popular was Sun, Apr 1, 12PM (most votes), 4PM (second most votes). Propose closed A&L meeting for one Tue only, 6:30 PM to focus on vision/debrief session in 2 parts: 1) 1 hr of “what we’ve done,” what has worked, what hasn’t 2) 1 hr of “where we want to go” where are we as movement, as group, how have we changed, where do we want to go.
LB: Q: closed meeting at 60 Wall or somewhere else?
BR: people have offered spaces but date has been up in the air, but cd do White Horse upstairs. They have water, will be empty then. D offered old school, cd ask about Cabinet.
LB: will outside facilitator take notes?
BR: no, anyone can, he’ll just direct the conversation.
ASe: looks like either time on Sun doesn’t conflict w/Arts Cluster.
AB: can we brainstorm stuff to propose stuff Tue.
BR: can’t close the meeting and do proposals.
ASe: concerns?
BY: little concerned about closed meeting, not doing any proposals.
AB: friendly amendment to budget 45 min for open meeting, proposals?
ASh: think there is a pause next week anyway, for many diff’t groups, this is imp’t, will be okay.
J: interested in the questions, do you want people to respond to the questions you’ve posed here?
BR: No, just possible points for discussion. It’s more a space for subjective, individual conversation than we can have in meetings. We do it at White Horse after meetings all the time, but this will be more formalized
ASe: Don’t mind closed meeting. Q: did people vote in person or just online?
BR: Did email some people for temp check around doodle poll dates. Have concern w/doing proposals, doing decision making in closed meeting.
LB: what does closed meeting mean anyway? we don’t publicize it? what if we just say what it is online, put it out in GG, describe it as retreat, those involved will come.
BR: Closed meeting = Having a space to acknowledge some of these things, tensions in the group. Actually, not sure why it needs to be closed.
J: are you creating a safer space, need it to be more trusting?
BR: yes.
AB: I wd rather risk a little lack of safety in order to have proposals. Wonder if describe meeting other people wd really want to come anyway.
LB: friendly amendment 20-30 min for proposals.
PW: does closed meeting meaning you can say whatever you want, no minutes, not reported back. or the idea it would be reported back?
LB: yes, no minutes, if talking about what didn’t work, don’t want that reported out.
BR: can I restate the proposal as use this draft, but describe it not as closed meeting. will dedicate next week to this structure. I guess we could do proposals at end, as long as we keep time.
LB: and friendly amendment re: no recorded minutes.
AB: too shady not to advertise it?
LB: too weird for OWS.
AB: I get that.
ASe: If supposed to be safe space, suggest not a bar, since people drink and get loose.
AB: Propose on highline if weather good, with alt site if weather bad.
J: Think it’s hard to meet in public space, it’s distracting.
ASh: How about first 2 hours, can do dinner, agreement not to drink until meeting is over.
ASe: That’s hard to enforce.
BR: How about we ask people to be moderate. I will research another, comfortable, accessible spot to use, w/White Horse as backup?
ASh: We should decide tonight.
BR: So White Horse or public space.
ASe: Still object to WH, such a mentality there, people will fall into that, loud voices. Will stand aside if group feels comfortable with it. [temp check]
BR: Plus we do have outside facilitator. So White Horse, Tue Apr 3, 6:30, no recorded minutes, 30 min for proposals at the end, no longer a closed meeting?

5. May 1 arts coalition
LB: Ft Greene pop-up last Sun. Email thread going on now w/ideas, specifically what do artists want to do for it. Loose brainstorming. Contact me to get on.
IE: There is another assembly: Apr 7, 2PM, Union Sq.
BR: General structure for M1 from May Day planning committee: Bryant Park in morning/noon, Union Sq. 4:30, both kid-friendly open zones. March downtown to Zucotti after 4PM b/c unions can’t strike officially. Coalition w/immigrants, so DA stuff will happen away from main march to keep it safer for people who can’t get arrested.
LB: YM mentioned including homeless, kids, in the park, like idea of bringing canvas, making arts projects in park.
ASh: The intern group’s giant check: messages about internship on it, $2 billion check for unpaid labor force. A, N, and I working on this. Want to open the structure of the check up, make blank checks, allow people to fill them in. Some motifs thrown around in Radical Art: fake flowers people can wear; realized after wearing flower around after Sotheby’s everybody was asking about it. Stickers: see you May 1. At some point we all have to make this stuff. Radical Art Group, AG’s studio, noon to 4, or 2-6 PM, this Sat. Still uncertain timing b/c of videoconference w/Rasha. Will be in production mode.
AB: Is there any plan to touch base w/Zucotti?
BR: March to there from Union Sq.
AB: No unions before 4PM?
BR: Not officially, or at least that’s the word. The reps there at Arts Assembly were part of M1 planning committee.
LB: Amazing puppets, puppet guild probably still looking for people to operate them if you want.
BR: Do people want to do something as a group? We could come up with a call to action. I want to do a march, gather art workers, make a lot of noise.
ASh: 1) Tomorrow we’re going to Materials for the Arts, gather as much shit as possible. Already have stack of papers that are great for signs. Will divide resources tomorrow, make list of what we have. 2) Anti-gentrification group was talking occupy brunch end of april, like occupy lunch, maybe model for central gathering.
AB: Sat during the march, LW & I had moment of agreement that we should “bring it” may 1. Fertility, may poles, want to see pagan festive agit prop craziness.
LB: That is what radical arts is about. Amazing banners, at Sat march 8 people holding peace banner and marching was unifying.
ASh: It was nice to hold onto something.
BW: Have 500 sq ft space w/shelving in Jersey City if people want to use it, tho I have to be there to let you in.
J: party at the gallery making things back in Nov was great; cd we schedule Fri events to gather and make things as a group?
LB: I love it.
BR: Gran Fury advice to us: have more parties.
AB: Gonna suggest we table this and make a party right now.

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