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Righting the Record

October 08, 1988

This letter is written to clarify statements that were attributed to me that are either incorrect or were taken out of context in your recent article "Art for Whose Sake?"

One of the specific questions from the list of seven asked dealt with the proposed budget for the festival. My response was that I had no idea what the festival would cost and that perhaps the $4 million being proposed at the time was a conservative estimate. I did not say that the mayor "has grossly underestimated the cost."

What is most disturbing to me about the article is that it failed to include the positive ideas I put forward to incorporate vital Soviet contemporary art into the festival. I gave specific names of contemporary Soviet artists, including Bruskin, Zakharov, and the Kopystianskayas. I talked about the inclusion of the Russian avant-garde artists including Rodchenko, Archipenko, and Tatlin. I suggested that the festival planners immediately convene a visual arts round-table and invite all the nonprofit visual spaces in San Diego, including the Centro (Cultural de la Raza), Installation and Sushi, the college and university art galleries, including SDSU, UCSD, Grossmont, Southwestern and Mesa, and the museums. And that those professionals develop and create joint programs where Soviet artists would be brought here to work in residence and in collaboration with San Diego artists.

In light of the proposed budget and its line items, I would further suggest that the $64,700 allocated for visual art is much too low and should at least equal the $663,100 allocated for the (Faberge) eggs. The careful coordination between the visual art spaces, a greatly increased visual art budget, and the accessibility of Soviet artists and their work, will, I believe, indeed make possible the mayor's desire to break the cycle of hate between our two nations. The education that such a program would provide our citizens and community, and the tourism it would create, would not only stimulate the city and commerce, but it would indeed put San Diego in the vanguard of emerging cultural centers.

JIM BARKER

San Diego

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