Musea Remembers: Art Revolution Festivals

ART REVOLUTION FESTIVAL.

Q. The biggest weakness in the Dallas art community is that people stay in their own artistic ghetto. – Tim Wood.

The first issue of Musea, a legal sized page of paper printed front and back, spelled out the state of the arts, and they were not good. They were in the doldrums. Musea’s byline read, Art News and Reviews for Those Who Oppose the Status Quos.
We accept absolutely, positively, no advertising. We will not ask for or accept government grants. We will not accept corporate sponsors.
That first issue did two things, it spelled out what was wrong in the arts, and what we thought could be done to fix it. But there was a third issue between the words. That was that we should think of all the arts together, not keep them apart. Musea was not a music zine, or painting zine, or writing zine, or film zine, it was all the above and more.

Within the first year, I heard from others that felt the same way. Among those were Tim Wood, editor of The Word, and a local arts activist, (see columnists,) and Greg Shanks, Bloom Music. Together the three of us cooked up the idea to set up an all day art festival that featured all the arts. There would be no limits to the type of art performed or displayed. We called it the Art Revolution Festival.

Together we found a place, Chumley’s Bar and the Stout McCourt Art Gallery next door. Then we booked the talent, gathered the art and zines for displays, and set it up for Sunday afternoon, November 6,1993. We decided to make it free. We set up a fish bowl at the front table for donations. That actually worked very well and got us much more than had we charged $5 or so.

We displayed photographs, paintings, sculptures, and an exhibit of zines and underground publications – and I am still shaking my fist at whoever stole my zines, Meat Scientist and Shockbox! They were a display not a giveaway! Besides the gallery, we had a stage for movies, videos, theater, poets, dancers, and musicians. Each group had about 15 minutes. Overall 26 artists performed or displayed their works. They ranged from Cathy Gould reading her poetry, to the rock band The End. Our largest audience came to see Polly Whiplash and All Her Cave Woman dressed in furry loincloths. They did a roast of Rush Limbaugh to a packed room.

Setting up the festival was an amazing amount of work. Tim and Greg wanted to do another. I loved the idea but bowed out. To their credit they did Art Revolution Festival II, III, and IV. Note the fourth one finally got belated Dallas media coverage. Along the way Tim and Greg, got other festival organizers to help, Cathy Gould, Michael McMurray, and Steve Baker. When Chumley’s closed, they moved the festival to Poor David’s Pub.

Musea #22 talked about my visit to the Arts Revolution Festival II, April 17, 1994.
Musea #24 talked about the lineup for Arts Revolution Festival III, August, 1994. Musea #29 talked about Arts Revolution Festival IV, January 29, 1995

My dream is to take this gem of an idea and turn it into an all arts center open to all, all the time.

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