“The question is: do we consider the arts as part of the community?” Lane art instructor Kathleen Caprario-Ulrich said while holding a sign saying “Art Scares Me.”
Saturday, Nov. 15, up to a dozen local artists gathered for a sarcastic “Anti-Art” protest outside of the Hult Center’s Jacobs Gallery, a publicly funded art gallery that is closing down this January.
The Jacobs Gallery first opened in 1987. Currently, it is the only publicly owned art gallery in Eugene, and the closest thing to an art center the city has outside of its colleges.
Local art advocate and author Vicki Amorose organized the protest with help from Caprario-Ulrich.
“I have been thinking about an anti-art protest for a long time,” Amorose said. “So I’ve been thinking about this protest in terms of just getting some attention, and getting it from an ironic point of view.”
The demonstration attracted attention from locals who were passing by, many of whom expressed that they were upset by the closing of the gallery.
“[I] think that art galleries are important to the community,” said passerby Stephen Kollber, who compared galleries to libraries in their need for community support.
Kollber went on to express that he believed it is important to have places of culture, like galleries and libraries, that are publicly supported. Caprario-Ulrich agrees with his sentiment, and believes that art can be neglected and undervalued in our community. She also expressed that galleries should not be judged based on earned revenue.
“There is not one major art organization in this country or in the world that is self-sufficient,” Caprario-Ulrich said. “There is not one that does not get public funding, grant funding, some sort of funding in addition to ticket prices and sale prices.”
Caprario-Ulrich also explained that surrounding towns have publicly funded art centers, such as the Umpqua Valley Arts Association in Roseburg and Corvallis’ The Art Center.