PROGRESSION: A fork in the road

Having got Carrat, ( Carrat is the Rover Mg ZS, only with a lil more punch), this far I have hit several bumps in the road.

I have stumbled into a seemingly deep seated and long standing grey zone between WERK/LPAP and other groups in the community such as NAF & Pride of Longbridge. I have had to seriously consider some options as to the way I want this project to be executed, for who and why.

I believed initially that I had to display Carrat at the Light Festival for this project to be successful, in order to do so I approached WERK,  unfortunately they were unable to help by including Carrat in this years Longbridge Light Festival, however a new perspective came out of this communication, I went to back to tutors at Bournville, believing I had failed in my proposal,  there was no space for Carrat in this years event, I had to ask if it was possible for my project to continue without WERK or LPAP backing it, of course it could, I just needed to find my own support and negotiate with others for a place to put her on display.

I sat back and quietly contemplated my options. Carrat had already been promised a spray paint session with local graffiti artists and having discussed with the artists the new plan we continued with the planned first phase of the project, the comments and response to her so far have been so encouraging and genuinely pleasant, I  continued with approaching new sources who may wish to participate Rover Enthusiasts West Midland, Pride of Longbridge and collection those I had not got to yet such as the Longbridge History groups. NAF, REWM and POL, are all willing to be involved in and support the project, so long as I am freelance, and not affiliated with or funded by LPAP/WERK.

I now have two options.

I can market my project, to the Local Community and have Carrat displayed in and around the Longbridge area, doing exactly what I wanted her to be doing: Allowing the people, of this community and its surrounds, to make their own mark on the car, to say play their part in her creation. I can display her at NAF , REWM and POL events, she is welcome, she will have the attention  of the audience I intended.

Or, I can forsake the community I wished to address with this project, and increase her audience, and therefore public involvement. I can possibly obtain funding, event hosting and have her glory in the wider audience she will no doubt obtain.

Given that POL alone are 4000+ strong in members on the Facebook community page they run and that they have plenty of advertising and experience at their disposal and that REWM are at nearly 2000 members, also given that NAF are very well established as a community group with the force of the other 10 that are behind them forming groups in stepping stone formation adjoining areas across Birmingham, this seems like a pretty large audience to me.

Given also that there is so much tension amidst the community about LPAP, can I justify taking the project from the very people I wanted to please whilst executing it?.Why so much tension? I spoke to various people and will name no names, the underlying tone appears to be that the community feel that LPAP whilst Longbridge based and able to fund smaller local projects, are ‘outsourcing’with respect to those that appear to get the funds not being based here. I went away and let the comments filter through my weary brain, I researched into WERK and LPAP, and I see no cause for heckles to be raised, but I do understand why they are.

It is easy to assume that a title such as ‘Longbridge Public Arts Project’, would be community based but it isn’t, in the same way that community art, isn’t public art. Here we see wires crossing to provide an entanglement of facts, ‘Longbridge’ is where the project is based, ‘Public’ implies anyone deemed a member of the public, not that they have to live in or local to LPAP. Okay, lets get simpler, LPAP and WERK are much more than a community group because they are embracing a far wider audience, they are providing support to artists throughout the UK, not just here, and so in the laws of averages, if you are helping 30 artists from across a whole country? I can assume its fair that perhaps only 1 or 2 of those would be Birmingham based. And here, lies the root of the discomfort, community artists/groups/residents feel they get passed over for support or funding because they are not good enough for LPAP when in reality LPAP are simply doing what they aim to do, that being to fund public arts, if they took only local artists, having stated they were public, they would be in the firing line again.

In the light of it all I did a little math, what does this project need, bottom line, that it actually requires funding for?

Repairs /towing – Yeah okay it does, I will try crowdfunding, as a last ditch to get some bigger interest in the project, but from the people it matters to. If it doesn’t work then any costs will have to comee from my own pocket, que cera.

Materials? Well, again reclaimed and donated materials were on the menu from the get go. The artists who worked on her graffiti provided their own materials and where only too happy to have their mark on the car in repayment. So tit for tat or buy the materials myself, at the end of the day, this was my crazy idea?

Time/Effort? well I volunteer my services – it is after all, my crazy community  art car project and its down to community participants if they wish to volunteer their time/effort.

In good conscience, how can I pull this project away from community groups and deny her the chance to shine in front of the audience for which I intended her creation? I aimed this project at community, and they are willing to participate and aid in creating the final piece, exhibit her, enjoy her and create new memories for us,  a headstone imagery for Longbridge Austin, using a visual stimuli at its base, I cannot.

So from here on in, FREELANCE it is, maybe it will get no funding, just me, a zany plan, approximately 3000 possible participants given a 50/50 average for interest in the project, current positioning allowance for those who are local enough or willing to travel and those who are simply not able; I invite you to watch the growth of my ACTUAL community Car Art project 🙂 Heck, grab some supplies and get your mark in there!

Update: 13/11/2016 : Well, que cera, the crowdfunding appeal is out, it has 20 days left to run, it has a little interest but only time will tell if it will succeed. It is all experience. POL have now refused to help with fundraising for my project, having it seems, chosen to start one of their own instead. Again, I learn.





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