Rantz: Thousands of your tax dollars went to phony Black Lives Matter ‘art’
King County awarded thousands of tax-funded grant dollars to the co-founder of Black Lives Matter. The only tangible item the community received in return was a neon red sign that we’re supposed to pretend is original art.
Patrisse Cullors held a one-week residency at the Vashon Center for the Arts that ended with a one-on-one on-stage speaking engagement. The April 8 event occurred days after the bombshell report that BLM spent contributions on a $5.8 million mansion. Rather than take responsibility for misspending funds, Cullors claimed any criticism of her leadership was racist. The lazy strategy of labeling a critic a racist is nothing new and has mostly lost its effect.
But after the event, the Vashon Island community saw the artistic creation she supposedly spent the week designing. It was a tiny sign that she didn’t actually create.
This isn’t really art, is it?
Cullors’ art installation is a small neon sign that reads, “Abolition is…” and that’s it. Perhaps the activist-artist didn’t have time to complete her thought. It’s possible that Cullors was too busy looking for expensive Vashon Island real estate to invest her fortune, and she just ran out of time during her residency.
I do have some suggestions to complete the thought. “Abolition is… dangerous” and “Abolition is… the idea of grifters taking advantage of stupid people.”
It seems dishonest to say she created the piece. There were no artistic skills necessary. It’s two words, three periods, and in a standard font. The art fabrication was actually completed by Western Neon artist Dylan Neuwirth.
Vashon Center for the Arts executive director Allison Halstead Reid confirmed it was Cullors’ “creation and design,” but it was Neuwirth “who brought her vision forth.”
Cullors was brought to the island for more than a neon sign. In addition to her on-stage event, she attempted to indoctrinate students at the nearby high school during a meet and greet and Q&A.
And you paid for this.
Your tax dollars at work
It’s unclear how much Cullors received for her Vashon Island vacation/residency. But we know at least $7,000 went to the event, nearly half coming from tax dollars.
“We do not disclose artists’ fees for any of our performances and events – whether it’s a Los Lobos concert on our stage, touring art exhibit, or a renowned speaker such as Ms. Cullors,” Reid told the Jason Rantz Show on KTTH.
But she did acknowledge that there were some public dollars involved. The King County Executive spokesperson confirmed a total of $3,000 from the taxpayer-funded 2022 Alan Painter Grant Program to support the event.
The event was also sponsored by the Vashon Island School District through its foundation. It allocated $4,000, though the district superintendent says the funds weren’t from taxpayers.
“The anonymous donation was made to Vashon Schools Foundation. The anonymous donor specifically asked for their donation to support racial equity work,” superintendent Slade McSheehy confirmed to the Jason Rantz Show on KTTH. “Vashon Schools Foundation provides a yearly allocation to the district. The district made the decision to use the allocation specified for racial equity for the work with Patrisse Cullors.”
No concerns over the controversy
The controversy around a secretly purchased BLM mansion broke during the residency. But the Vashon Center for the Arts executive director didn’t seem moved by it.
“We are, of course, aware that there are stories in the media regarding Ms. Cullors and the Black Lives Matter movement. As an arts organization, we believe it is part of our mission to bring contemporary issues, including those around racial justice, to light through artists and their art,” Reid explained.
The Vashon School District shared Reid’s disinterest in the controversy.
“The District has no comment regarding any allegations about Patrice Cullors,” a district spokesperson explained.
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