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I was under the impression that the Washington City Paper was an advocate for the arts. If that is so, why “The Artsy Thing That Swallowed D.C.” (Show & Tell, 9/3)? The goal of Art-O-Matic is to build an art community that is inclusive, working with developers in all parts of the city, providing a space for the arts to come together; visual, music, dance, poetry, and anything that can be imagined. Our purpose is to provide a place for experimentation.
Because Washington is unique among major cities in its wealth of museum art, Art-O-Matic’s focus has been to make an art scene that offers an alternative. Because it’s an open-entry show, we have had more amateur artists than professionals, especially as our numbers have grown from 250 to more than 750 visual artists. This seems to be the major complaint of the article, but contrary to what the article says, this factor has not been ignored by the planners. The next Art-O-Matic will include incentives for more established artists to get involved.
Everyone involved in Art-O-Matic is a volunteer, except the Cultural Development Corp., which was paid. Art-O-Matic artists provided more than 11,000 unpaid hours for the last event, and its steering committee works year round, so the CDC did not do all the work, as the article alleges. In addition, Art-O-Matic provided that organization with a platform that ultimately led to the launching of Flashpoint.
Art-O-Matic deserves better than the City Paper’s back-of-the-hand swipe.