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Non-hippies welcome

I am writing this letter in hopes of assuaging Seth Kubersky's fear that Dandelion Café is "losing its counterculture roots" `Live Active Cultures, Aug. 14`. Dandelion Café was established more than two years ago to provide a peaceful, friendly and relaxed dining experience. While we support the artistic endeavors of Troop 1692, we felt that the art in question jeopardized the harmonious atmosphere that we have worked so hard to create.

We never claimed to be a hippie-friendly hangout. We are a people-friendly hangout, attracting folks from all walks of life. We leave our politics at the door and focus on our primary goals: providing delicious organic food and promoting a sense of community.

Also, we will be sure to check with Mr. Kubersky next time we relocate a piece of furniture.

Matt Butcher, Orlando

Critical acclaim

I could not believe my eyes when I opened up the Orlando Weekly to Megan Bardoe's piece last week `"A lesson on showcasing fresh talent," Aug. 14` and saw something I don't think I've ever actually seen in any Orlando newspaper: criticism! 

I'm not alone in my weariness of the majority attitude which implies that any negative words directed at an artist, curator or gallery owner somehow "hurts" the local art scene. Please! Of the missing pieces in our expanding arts universe, a good critic is near the top of the list. A major barrier to having one has been a fear of publishing anything that might recognize that not all art is good. To quote Los Angeles critic and curator Mat Gleason, "Most art sucks."

Art is subjective? Yes, to a point. But so is figure skating, politics, history and any number of things. Every artist should have access to exhibits, clients and collectors? Fat chance. Try getting away with that attitude in any city with a viable art market. It's a product, like it or not.

Not only does the everybody's-art-is-worth-something attitude do nothing for the local art scene, it actually hurts it, perpetuating a sloppy colloid of wall mucus that makes a newcomer never want to set foot into a gallery again. Not even for the free wine.

I hope this isn't the last we read in your paper from Bardoe. This town has been suffering from art brain drain for decades. We need a good art critic to stop it!

 Rick Jones, Orlando

A critic too far

Your coverage of the local art scene never ceases to amaze and disgust, but this time you have gone too far. In the Aug. 14 paper there is an article entitled "A lesson on showcasing fresh talent" by Megan Bardoe that compares the super-slick corporate Millenia Fine Art Gallery to a small grass-roots attempt at creating a local art scene, a little project known as Bay Two. The author's conclusion? The struggling locals are art-ignorant hicks who don't have the knowledge or education to put on an art show and could learn a little from the artistic heavyweights coming out of an ultra-expensive private art institute in New York City. Millenia on the other hand? Their sterile, multimillion-dollar gallery space leaves the author "blown away" by its "pomp and circumstance." Plus, it's next to a Ferrari dealership!

It's obvious to anyone reading this article that Bardoe is attempting to impress the Weekly's readership by name-dropping and rubbing her taste for expensive and cosmopolitan waiting-room art in the faces of Orlando's starving artists. And while the Millenia Gallery is catering to the champagne-with-breakfast, private-jet, live-in-nanny set and showcasing the work of the lucky few who can afford to go to the exclusive School of Visual Arts in New York, Bay Two is trying to represent the local artists that live and create right here in Orlando.

The art at both galleries is competent, some of it even brilliant. The only thing standing between the art at Bay Two and the art at Millenia is a few zeros and some expensive degrees. The Weekly should be the first to point this out, instead of celebrating such ridiculous elitism.

Elizabeth Shupe, Orlando

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