Show Business.

Look at this amazing found space performance hall in Berlin:

The artists who live and work here, at the Tacheles, may be evicted soon. It's a complicated story involving the fall of the Berlin Wall, squatters, real estate speculation, and the economic downturn. The people who own it (and the bank to whom they owe a king's ransom) want to gentrify the place. I have a love/hate relationship with gentrification. I'm not pro-slum, and I respect people who work hard to improve their community. But I hate how gentrification raises the rents to the point of pricing out long-term residents and kills whatever charm was there before the hipsters moved in. Tearing down an artist's commune to put up luxury condos in this economy? Seriously? Who are they fooling?

What really bothers me about this story is how easily disregarded the arts are in a bad economy. The arts are not a luxury, but I can see how they might seem so when money is tight. Still, politicians might think about the economic might of the arts. Artists pay taxes like everyone else, and our work is often taxed. We contribute to the economy and society, but are considered frivolous. If only we had the political will to support programs like the Federal Theatre Project, employ artists to create public art, and support reportage photography like the Farm Security Administration did with Ansel Adams and Dorothea Lange. But it won't happen. Too many people think that we're a bunch of degenerates (Thanks, Robert Mapplethorpe and Andres Serrano.) and there are so many other, pressing problems that need funding.

Well, that's the Reader's Digest version of that tirade. I'm tired, so I'll link to the eloquent, persuasive words of fellow knitter, blogger, and amazing lady Yarn Harlot on the topic of arts funding. I couldn't have said it better myself.


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