Counterpoints: On the Santora
I saw this coming. It was only a matter of time before artists would attempt to politick and force the hand of the City and interested parties concerning the Santora building.
For the record, I don’t think that a church buyer is the wisest or best choice for the Santora, but what’s done is done and now all that is left to do is to try to save the Santora from being gutted. One problem that I have with these artists is that they’re first and foremost about protecting their own interests. Nowhere in their open letter do I see real concern about the building, and this is truly what is at stake not simply their galleries. Their chorus should be about protecting the Santora, a historic building, and not themselves. Saying that the Santora had some Hollywood connections back in the 1930s is one huge fail.
The following quotes come from their recently sent open letter where they (he, she?) lay out their (?) intentions. And so says the chorus:
“Over the last 20 years, Downtown Santa Ana has built a national reputation as a City for the Arts. Key to this endeavor has been the substantial investment of public money in the historic Santora Arts Building and the Santa Ana Artists Village. Over one million dollars in public redevelopment funds were invested in the effort to create a professional hub for artists and an enriching cultural space for Santa Ana’s residents and Orange County’s diverse population.
After all this work, the visionary goal of making Santa Ana a destination for art is finally becoming a reality, attracting world-renowned artists from around the globe to the Santora and arts organizations like Orange County Center for Contemporary Art (OCCCA), Grand Central Art Center (GCAC) and the Orange County High School of the Arts (OCHSA).”
Wrong. Santa Ana became a destination for art long ago. It is incorrect to say it “is finally becoming a reality.” In fact, OCHSA came over a decade ago. Where are the voices of the Grand Central Art Center and the Orange County Center for Contemporary Art? The Santora issue has everything to do with whatever artists are left trying to protect their interests and prolong their stay in there. A wise move, in my opinion, is for Santora artists to start looking at other areas of the downtown to do art. Frankly, other areas of the downtown need art. Look at other artists that have moved out of the Santora and have regrouped and re-sprouted in other parts of the downtown.
“These plans would irreparably harm the economy, purpose and quality of life of the Artists Village.”
Again, where are the voices of the other more-professionalized and better-organized arts entities on this matter? Would they agree that the Gypsy Den is going to take a financial hit because some artists are no longer in the Santora? Wrong. Wrong. Wrong. Don’t flatter yourselves. Someone has to break it to you but some of you artists ARE NOT the reason people come to Santa Ana. People overshoot the Santora galleries to go to the Gypsy Den or Lola’s all the time.
“The Artists Village respects freedom of expression and provides an environment free of discrimination on the basis of race, creed.”
I don’t know who exactly took it upon him or herself to speak for the entire Artist’s Village but if a church is allowed to co-exist there, then and only then will the Artist’s Village provide an environment free of discrimination, particularly on the basis of creed. At this point there are certain would-be artists that in fact do not respect others based on their creed. Certain artists have decided to play the roles of victims of censorship, but they do the same in reverse by not allowing discussion from a religious point of view. That is not democratic.
“The presence of a church or other evangelical organization would seriously disrupt the harmony of the Artists Village and interfere with the artists’ ability to pursue their livelihood and conduct business in peace.”
This is an attempt to speak for the entire Artist’s Village. Their argument is summed up with the following: Don’t kick us out of the Santora because if you do, the whole Artist’s Village will disappear.
“We are dedicated to obtaining a formal agreement dedicated to preserving: free community access to publically funded art resources, ongoing support of individual artists, and additional investment for artist-driven businesses within the historic Santora Arts Building.
Please support our request for a binding agreement to protect the public investment in the Santora Arts Building as a professional artists’ and preserve the quality of life in the Artists Village. Join the many citizens of Santa Ana, business owners, tax payers and Artist Village patrons who also support discrimination-free access to publicly funded art resources, ongoing support of individual artists, and additional investment for artist-driven businesses within the historic Santora Arts Building.”
Nowhere do they even mention saving the Santora from being gutted. That is my only concern.