Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Making art happen in Cleveland

I feel a little bad for slagging one local artistic effort in my last concert review post, so let me atone by saluting another. R.A. 'Rafiq' Washington is a guy I've been hearing about since I moved to Cleveland, and though I've never met him, so many people that I like and respect mention him in universally positive ways that when I saw this article from the Plain Dealer today, it made me feel a little bit of that pride you get when one of your friends does well.

The central thrust of the piece is that Washington is starting a new DIY music label, Cleveland Tapes, which is cool enough on its own, but then it goes on to document all the different ways Washington is engaged in the arts scene in town. I've spent the last couple of years drawing attention where I could to all the different dimensions of that scene, but it wasn't really until today that I fully realized folks like Washington have been doing that for many years, and not just plugging, but doing the art.

We're lucky to have these folks - they open the underground venues and host the edgy events and take a loss on production operations so that some artists can do their thing in a world otherwise wickedly skewed by market dynamics and so many more enthusiasts can be exposed to creative genius outside of what the glossy, thick-stock art and design magazines show us.

Good work, Rafiq. If you ever read this, send me some of those albums to review.

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