Like a few other folks, I attended my first IHOP art klatch* this morning. Held at Cafe Presse (originally at IHOP), every Tuesday morning, and led by Scott Lawrimore, these discussions have been happening for the past two years. Today's klatch must have set attendance records. I'm guessing there were at least 55 folks crammed in the backroom of Presse. I heard the hallway was also packed and several folks couldn't get in and just had coffee at the bar.
The topic? "The group will discuss the decline of the staff critic and art coverage in traditional media, the prospects for online publishing, and the growth in art writing by artists. They will also discuss the quality of online debate, with Jen Graves' recent article, “The Vancouver Problem” as a test case."
A fantastic group of speakers (Eric Fredericksen, Jen Graves, Regina Hackett, Matthew Offenbacher) sparked a very lively discussion. Some points discussed included the responsibility of a critic, talking to ourselves versus talking to the larger community, and the various merits of an online presence contrasted with the sweetness of a La Especial Norte (available in print only).
I'm really loving the elevated level of chatter and discourse lately. And based on all the coverage (originally in The Stranger, then Another Bouncing Ball, Translinguistic Other, Getting to Know You Better), I think lots of other folks are eager to keep this discussion going. And I didn't get to say it today but I just wanted to give Matt Offenbacher big props for creating La Especial Norte. His spirit of community has been very influential in setting the tone for this blog. Nice guys don't always finish last, Matt.
BIG thanks to Scott Lawrimore for organizing this, and to all the attendees and speakers!