open letter to the miami performing arts center
Post #684 • December 13, 2005, 7:23 PM • 13 Comments
To: Gail Eaton, Director of Marketing, MPAC
Dear Ms. Eaton:
My name is Franklin Einspruch. I write the blog that you're reading here; for more information, refer to this page and the surrounding navigation.
I had heard about your situation involving Alesh Houdek early on and volunteered to write a letter recommending him to you, in spite of some criticisms of the Miami Performing Arts Center that appeared on his excellent blog, Critical Miami. I am profoundly dismayed to hear about the lack of professionalism at the MPAC that resulted in the rescinding of a decision to hire him based on his writings.
As an artist, writer, art teacher, and active creative professional for eleven years in Miami, I find your choice totally reprehensible. To whatever extent we expect arts organizations to value freedom of expression, on principle, you have failed the community you purport to serve without even opening your doors.
Alesh, at least, thinks the MPAC is a good idea. I don't. I keep thinking that Cesar Pelli came up with the design for your building by bisecting a turtle with an axe. More importantly than blighting the landscape, the MPAC lies at the center of an ongoing debate in the local visual art world regarding the worth of so-called Museum Park scenario, which puts the Miami Art Museum and the Museum of Science into Bicentennial Park. The MPAC proves a libertarian argument that government entities, facing no competition and no real accountability, will spend money inefficiently. According to the Miami Herald, as of June 2004, the MPAC was $67 million over budget and 20 months behind schedule, which means it is now 38 months behind schedule and an unknown quantity of millions more over budget. While many of us want an expanded museum, we keep looking over at you and thinking, Maybe not.
These are legitimate taxpayer concerns and are not going to disappear simply because your press office can strongarm the creative community that you intend to hire from. I don't know what you were hoping to avoid by retracting your offer to Alesh, but my view of you, from a PR standpoint, looks like this: Not only are you the very picture of the worst possible consequences of public arts funding, you also have no room for the self-criticism that makes both art and arts organizations viable. I am going to do what I can to make people associate your organization with government waste and retaliation against your critics.
By the way, you lost one hell of a designer.