Independent artists’ remarks to Durham City Council IV, October 10, 2019.Posted: October 21, 2019
Above: Durham artist Ashesh Chatterjee addressing City Council.
Posted below are the comments made by local independent artists to Durham City Council on October 10th, 2019, on the crisis of arts funding in the city. Thank you to Ashesh Chatterjee and Justin Argenio for sharing their comments. See previous speakers’ comments here (August 22), here (September 5), and here (September 19). If you are an independent artist in Durham and would like to speak to the Council on this matter, please get in touch at monica at monicabyrne dot org.
Please click here to listen to Ashesh’s comments (forward to Item #29).
Please click here to listen to Justin’s comments (forward to Item #30).
Hello to all. My name is Monica Byrne. I’m an independent artist who’s lived here for fourteen years, and organized this speaker series. My comments are short this time. I want to thank all of you for your attention these past two months. We really appreciate having this opportunity to speak directly to you, and we really appreciate being heard. We’re currently reaching out to meet with each Council Member in person—I met with a couple of you just this morning—so please, be on the lookout for an email from one of us to sit down and talk.
At the next Work Session on October 24th, we plan to introduce our official asks to the city. We’re finalizing these asks based on conversations within the independent artist community, conversations with arts personnel in our peer cities, and your input. As we understand it, the Council’s desire for the future of Durham is not unlimited growth. It is making sure that the growth that is inevitable in the near term is equitable and beneficial for all citizens. We ask that you consider a healthy, well-funded independent arts workforce not peripheral to that project, but central to it. Independent artists are the eyes and ears and nerves of a city. Art is how we sense ourselves and make meaning of our place in the world. If we lose those faculties, we risk losing our unique identity; if we cultivate them, I firmly believe, we’ll become the best Durham we can possibly be.
On that note, thank you again for your attention, and we’ll see you on the 24th.