553: Postcard from you? / nicer NI murals / eBayed artists unimpressed (Thursday 19 July 2007)

Circa postcard competition

Got an image others just can't resist? Then you could win 150 euro and get that image of yours widely circulated, in Circa's postcard competion. More details here .

Community re-imaging projects receive £1/2 million in funding

compiled by Rachel Simmons

Just one example of re-imaging going on in Northern Ireland thanks to the new funding; this mural was completed as part of a project sponsered by the Craigavon Council; image held here .

In the first step of a project initiative announced a year ago to the day, the Deputy First Minister announced on 10 July 2007 that £500,000 had been allocated to 34 community projects around Northern Ireland devoted to the re-imaging of public areas and removal of negative imagery, through the £3.3 million Re-Imaging Communities Programme. According to the Arts Council of Northern Ireland's website, the project "aims to help all communities in urban and rural areas tackle the visible signs of sectarianism and racism and to create a welcoming environment for everyone."

Funding has gone to projects sponsered by councils and community organisations, ranging from mural re-imaging to garden projects, working with children and area youth, as well as local artists. For example, the Broughshane and District Community Association has been working on two projects, one a community Banner project in which they hope that "strategic placement of banners will help reduce the number of flags flown during the marching season and will tackle the visible signs of sectarianism." Their other project is a Butterfly Garden Project, in which several hundred metal butterflies will be made by local artisans and more will be painted by local children to decorate the garden. Broughshane receives £9,077 for the Banner project and £22,690 for the Garden Project.

Children at work, painting butterflies to decorate a butterfly garden in Broughshane, part of the Broughshane and District Community Association's re-imaging project; image held here .

Another project to receive funding was the Ards Borough Council, which used their grant to work on their Portavogie Mural Re-definition project, in which they "replac[ed] a paramilitary mural with a more positive image which celebrates the local fishing industry." This was done in hopes of making their community a more welcoming place for both residents and visitors; the community had decided together to make such a change, wishing to portray their pride in the history of their small fishing village and share their history. The design for the new mural was made by local artists, who were also working with young children in the area on the design.

The previous mural, which reads Armagh Antrim Londonderry & Down Tyrone & Fermanagh. Will Remain True to the Crown, This we Will Maintain / For God and Ulster; image held here .

The new, re-imaged mural, which celebrates the Portavogie fishing community and its heritage; image held here .

Source: http://www.artscouncil-ni.org/news/2007/new10072007.htm

Artists' backlash against Dutch art up for auction on eBay

compiled by Rachel Simmons

We reported here recently that approximately 1,000 works by Dutch artists have been put up for sale on online-auction site eBay. The works had been held by Institute Collection Netherlands (ICN), which maintains that they are "relieving the state of the possession of these artworks," which were given to ICN in return for a stipend for artists, through the Netherlands' former artist-support programme. But this most recent endeavor has not been well received by the artists whose works are being sold on eBay. There are a few exceptions, such as painter Willem Oorebeek, who sees the auction as a "rediscovery" of his work, but for the most part, the artists are unhappy. And they are employing their Professional Artists Association to seek justice - even threatening legal action - because of what they say was ICN's failure to notify the artists of the fact that their works would be auctioned off, and in this manner.

CultureGrrl's blog with www.artsjournal.com received information on this subject in the form of a translated article on the subject, from Dutch paper De Volkskrant . According to this article by Bieke van der Mark, Henk Rijzinga, the secretary of the Professional Artists Association, argued that according to the agreement formed under the support scheme, "artists always retain the right to ask for their work back temporarily...for exhibitions," "the art cannot legally be sold." "This auction ruins the market." But according to the article, spokeswoman for ICN Marina Raijmakers claims that ICN attempted to contact as many artists as possible, but because of changes of address, the organisation simply could not contact every single one; she insists that ads of notification were placed and letters sent to every artist possible. CultureGrrl's opinion on the matter maintained that this was all well and good, but that ICN could have asked permission from the artists they were able to locate and "refrained from unloading the oeuvre of those who objected or who couldn't be located."

ICN had also stated that this was most likely to be the first of such auctions and that if there were any unsold on eBay in October, they would go up for sale through traditional auction along with about 300 pieces of Dutch furniture. Raymaker said about the current eBay auction, "It is a test so we can draw lessons from it for similar sales in future," also adding that up to 3,000 additional works could be auctioned in this manner, in the future. It remains to be seen the effect the artists' protests will have on the auctions - both current and future.

The article in De Volkskrant also reports that several Dutch museums are also trimming their collections through eBay, at the same time as ICN; these are reportedly works which have been up for offer to other Dutch museums for about three months.

Sources: http://www.artsjournal.com/culturegrrl/2007/07/dutch_artists_threaten_legal_a.html ; http://www.cbc.ca/arts/artdesign/story/2007/07/09/netherlands-ebay-collection.html; http://www.csmonitor.com/2005/0304/p11s01-alar.html ; http://au.news.yahoo.com/070706/19/13ww3.html