A new Facebook event promotes community support of a Tuesday candidates’ forum, asking that local art supporters show up to the afternoon event at the Phil Mechanic Building.
The Phil Mechanic Building, site of the forum, is a West Asheville/RAD institution, home to Blue Ridge Biofuels, a community darkroom, the Flood Gallery, Pump Gallery and more. Building owner and arts hero Jolene Mechanic has also supported the bloggers of Asheville by donating her space for 2009′s Blogapalooza event.
The Tuesday event is an election-season candidate’s forum, but it looks like artists are leveraging it to drum up support for the studios. In the Facebook event below, artist Taiya la Paix alleges tripling of Mechanic Building property taxes. But the county has not yet sent out property values, so a tripling of taxes is still speculation.
The issue of gentrification in the RAD remains.
A statement from Jolene Mechanic herself:
Tomorrow evening’s meet & greet is not about me, nor the Phil Mechanic. It’s about trying to build an advocacy for artists in this City, where the artists have contributed so much. Gentrification is inevitable. It happens everywhere and has been going on historically for centuries. In light of all the recent excitement about Asheville becoming ‘Beer City’ – people seem to forget that artists are the ones that actually put Asheville on the national destination map. When AFTA (Americans for the Arts) came to town in July to present economic impact numbers for Buncombe County, not a single city council member showed up for the arranged luncheon. Since we have an election coming up, and since the County hasn’t really been involved in supporting the arts here in Asheville, I thought it would be good to have an art forum. To remind our political leaders that artists impact this city to the tune of 43 million dollars a year, and 1,427 full time jobs. Other cities are doing things to protect their artists. Maybe the city/county would like to open a dialogue about how Asheville can find a way to protect their artists and the economic impact they have had on Asheville.
As you may have heard, due to recent corporate land acquisitions, the property taxes are going to triple next year. Jolene doesn’t know how she is going to keep the place. She has invited politicians on Tuesday, to help them understand how important the arts are to the community, in hope that they will consider a special tax status for the arts district, or something like that, i think. indeed, the arts generate close to 50 million in revenue, and is the distinguishing pride of Asheville. We just need to show up, be there, and impress the influential people with the sheer number of people who care.
Full text from the Facebook event is here:
My Dear Friends,
please, please join me this Tuesday the 9th, at 5pm, at the Phil Mechanics studios/Flood Gallery Fine Arts Center. What we need is a headcount to impress the politicians who will be there–we simply need your presence to show our numbers and solidarity. my dear friend and mentor, Jolene Mechanic, who grew up in an orphanage, has together with her husband Mitch, devoted her life to philanthropy. she has put in unimaginable blood, sweat, and tears to create and run the Phil Mechanics building.
The galleries there are nonprofit–all proceeds go to the artists, except for a small percentage for expenses. Jolene has been running innumerable nonprofit programs there, to educate disadvantaged children and to bring art and culture to the community. In the basement, Mitch created and ran Blue Ridge Biofuels, collecting used cooking oil from restaurants and recycling it into fuel that many of you have been getting at the pump. Most of the greatest artists our fair city is proud to have, are in some way or another deeply indebted to Phil Mechanics. They gave me my first solo show, when none of you even knew me.
As you may have heard, due to recent corporate land acquisitions, the property taxes are going to triple next year. Jolene doesn’t know how she is going to keep the place. She has invited politicians on Tuesday, to help them understand how important the arts are to the community, in hope that they will consider a special tax status for the arts district, or something like that, i think. indeed, the arts generate close to 50 million in revenue, and is the distinguishing pride of Asheville. We just need to show up, be there, and impress the influential people with the sheer number of people who care. Please forward this to anyone you know, and I beg all of you to, please, please, please join me at:
109 Roberts Street, Asheville, NC 28801
From downtown, going west on Patton or Hilliard, turn left onto Clingman Ave, past the Grey Eagle, turn right at roundabout, it’s right there.
And then we can all go to Julie Armbruster’s opening at Clingman Cafe! Weeeee!
Much love to all my friends in this city I adore,
Taiyo la Paix
133 Highland St.
Weaverville, NC 28787