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Dino and Paleo Artists: Request for help



Note: If you're not a pro or prosectively pro artist, the following may
be of no interest to you. Just want to save you some time.

---
Having just (barely) lived through a bizarre, almost surreal experience
in dealing with a Legal Organization that purportedly helps the Arts, I
would like to explain what happened and see if you have a suggestion as
to how to deal with the problem that, hopefully, you will come to
understand in the following:

I was seeking help in the appropriate language for not-for-profit
incorporation, and, having previously received excellent help from these
particular (nameless here) folks years before (let's call them "Arts
Legal"), I approached them once again.

Briefly, the organization has to do with generally promoting the
relationship between paleontology and the arts to the general public
through supporting educational and paleo-art related events. "Designing
Dinosaurs" would be a fine example of the sort of exhibit that might
result or be supported.

Sparing you the details of a number of unbelieveable conversations, I
began to realize that these people were balking at helping. "Art Legal"
they said, helps dance groups and performing artists and the like. You
don't help writers and painters, I asked. Of course! But we're not sure
that you qualify.  What it apparently boiled down to was that they
didn't like the word "dinosaur" in the name of the organization. One
attorney went so far as to tell me that "dinosaur art" was some sort of
"strange cult." (Exact quote).

Now those of you who know me already understand that I am very
supportive of and have tremendous respect for the ability of paleo
artists. I was at great pains with "Art Legal" to explain the difference
between, for example, doing one of those paintings of lions or eagles
that are marketed all the time, and doing a dinosaur painting. You can
go take a photo of a lion and paint from it, but you can't take a photo
of a Parasaurolophus in just the right pose: clearly, creative
imagaination is an extraordinarily important component of dinosaur art.

The bottom line here seems to be that these "Art Legal" folks -- who
support ballet dancers, novelists, video artists and on and on -- don't
think that you professional dinosaur artists are "REAL artists." You are
something else.  If someon painted dinosaurs in the style of Sy Twombly,
I said to them, you guys would fall all over yourself to help them, but
since these paintings (I made them a gift of the catalog from the Bruce
Museum exhibit) look so "real" you are having a hard, hard time thinking
about them as fine art. They muttered something about losing their
not-for-profit status with the state if they helped the wrong people.

Frankly, I bristle at this idea, and that is why I am posting this note.
How do y'all react to this?  Do you think of yourself as fine artists?
Or as something else? Am I missing something? 

If, in fact, I'm not wrong, and your work is (as I think it is) fine
art, what can we say to these people to set their heads straight.

I'm not sure if this is appropriate for an EXTENDED ONLIST discussion,
so use your discretion and reply OFFLIST as appropriate.

Thanks in advance for your help.

Edward Summer

-- 
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