Reaction to the Report: Terri Thornton, Artist and Curator of Education at the Modern Art Museum of Fort Worth

I’m trying to put myself in the shoes of Creative Time, considering “what” and “how” I would present to a city’s art community that seems to be looking for a road map to success but didn’t fully ask for my help. Many voiced the observation that the report is vague and too polite. I guess the report could have revealed more of the dirt learned in private conversations and called it as the reporters inevitably saw it, leaving Dallas to confront and fight out the resentment it has been harboring. While I know this report addresses the need for concrete things like a real art writer for the Dallas Morning News and collectors looking for art at home as well as from “art centers” elsewhere, I think many of the reactions to the report are actually reactions/responses to each other and ourselves. But I do agree with Christina Rees and others that the report should have been more rigorous, as well as with Ben Lima that the advice should have and could have been specific to the region. Which brings me to another point; Dallas can only realize its potential by recognizing that it isn’t an island but rather part of a metroplex. Businesses and families may have reasons to draw the city limits with a permanent marker and fuel rivalries but the art community doesn’t. There is no competition. The drive from Dallas to Fort Worth and Fort Worth to Denton, etc is not overwhelming and completely worth it to strengthen the community as a whole or just to take advantage of some incredible opportunities. After driving to Fort Worth to see an exhibition or for a lecture, artists and the like should organize dinner or drinks at one of the restaurants or bars within walking distance of the museums or within a 7 min. drive. Discussions over food and drink following something stimulating like a lecture or seeing art are where ideas form and plans are hammered out. Denton and Arlington have the same to offer. Some of you know I’m right because it’s what you do. Such conversations have been organized for us but we need to make it a personal practice. There shouldn’t always have to be an agenda. It’s what I do when I go to Dallas and I consider myself fortunate to have the opportunity. I also think there’s a need to spend more time actually looking at and thinking about art for our personal well being. We don’t have anything to talk about or present to the world if we don’t stay engaged with art which is what supposedly brought us to this report and its responses.

We have to individually be clear about what we want and why we want it. Making communities should be organic but sometimes we just can’t wait so we need to proceed knowing that anything forced is going to be messy.

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