Why Create the Bourgeon Book?

We’ve just launched a Kickstarter to support creation of a Book featuring 40 DC artists, and I want to explain why we’re doing that, and ask for your support of the project.

There a few assumptions that many arts professionals make about Modern Art:

  1. New work may not be immediately popular
  2. New work might at first seem crass/rude/in-beautiful
  3. With time, good new work will be seen as valuable

These assumptions that we may make about Modern Art are borne out by our experiences as adult cultural consumers. The marketplace frequently doesn’t immediately get it right. Sometimes really exceptional art is initially seen as stupid, a-technical, irrelevant, etc.

How does a community support new artwork? And I don’t mean financially…

Arts journalism plays a critical role. For centuries, arts journalists have helped to nurture and develop audiences. We usually think of it the other way around — that artists are nurtured by critics. And that’s true also, but really: audiences are nurtured by critics. With the financial struggles of print news outlets, the field of arts journalism has shrunk, and that has made it harder for new work to take root. With less and less coverage by professional critics, how can you help create an environment in which new art can find support?

The model that Bourgeon innovates is helping artists connect directly to readers about their own work. You’ll be able to read fourty examples in the Bourgeon Book, an anthology of contemporary art that will be published in the summer of 2012. More than just a snapshot into the lives and artwork of modern artists, the book offers insight into the role of the arts in the words of the artists themselves. You can read about how Joan Belmar‘s experience as an immigrant influences his artwork, or how Al Miner‘s introspection influences his, or how Prudence Bond‘s training influences hers. After you read these articles, I’m guessing you’ll be more inclinded to take a little bit of a longer look at what might at first seem stupid, or irrelevant.

What we’re doing with Bourgeon helps create an environment in which new artists and new artwork can thrive, and you can support that by helping us publish the Bourgeon Book. If you pledge $25 dollars or more you’ll get a free copy of the book once it’s published, and of course a larger pledge would really help. You can see more about the project and support it here:



Robert Bettmann
Founding Managing Editor

p.s. – Below is a list of artists whose work will be in the book with your support.

Visual Arts
Joan Belmar,
Prudence Bonds,
Judith Peck,
Megan Coyle,
Andy Shallal,
Michele Banks,
Tim Tate,
Jenny Walton,
Jessica Beels,
Salvador Casco,
Alec Simpson,
Camille Mosley-Pasley,
Al Miner,
Laurel Lukaszewski,
Patricia Spears Jones

Performing Arts
Valerie Durham,
Daniel Barbiero,
Laurel Victoria Gray,
Alvin Mayes,
Jonathan Morris,
Ken Manheimer,
Nancy Havlik,
Cem Catbas,
Jane Franklin,
Kevin Platte,
Tehreema Mitha,
Gesel Mason,
Aysha Upchurch,
Kelly Mayfield,
Dana Tai Soon Burgess,
Daniel Burkholder

Maida Withers,
Heather Risley,
Kathryn Boland,
Jon Gann,
Heather Desaulniers,
Steven Shafarman,
Casey Maliszewski,
Jan Tievsky,
Sabado Lam
Lori Clark,
George Jackson,
Michael Bjerknes,
Cheryl Palonis Adams,
Doug Yeuell,
Judith Hanna,
Loren Ludwig

Author: Robert Bettmann

Founder of Day Eight, and the DC Arts Writing Fellowship.