Saturday, March 16, 2013

Back And Forth

Apparently, there is an additional "other mailbox" column of messages on facebook located next to my regular inbox. I found an email from Oct 2012 regarding the Autumn Bowl. I wrote back to the person but I thought why not share the messages since I wrote about how much them using the name "The Autumn Bowl" pissed me off last year.

Hey Jilleen,
I work with Nuit Blanche New York, the organization that recently reopened The Autumn Bowl. I'm sorry to hear how upset some of the community from the last incarnation of the space is with our use of it. We've been in the space for a couple of years now, and generally it's been open as part of a larger festival called Bring to Light that we produce. Because of a lack of funding this year, Bring to Light could not take place and when we needed to make the decision on how to scale down we decided on The Autumn Bowl because of how much it has meant to us in recent years.
In our scrambling to pull the venue together, I recognize the legacy of The Autumn Bowl as a haven for a specific skating community has not been acknowledged as best as it could have been. We reached out to Dave Mims and didn't receive a response, but are realizing now that we could have done more in terms of engaging and respecting its last use. We're a very small team working tirelessly to produce the best artistic experiences we can for our own community and I'm sorry the legacy of yours was mixed up with that in this case. We've already been turned on to a couple of people besides Dave to reach out to, but if you have any suggestions or other thoughts please let me know and I'll be happy to do as much as possible to honor and engage the roots of the bowl as much as I can. Thank you Nicole

Hi Nicole,
I don't know why it took me this long to receive this email. I guess I didn't know facebook had an "other" mail box column. You are right. There are many people that were involved with Autumn including Dave Mims who were not receptive of the repurposing of it's name for your business. To my knowledge, someone from your team did actually reach out to Dave and he did say not to use it but it was used anyway. I can understand the work and passion that goes into tirelessly producing the best artistic experience for the community. However, you are also right when you say your team could have done more to engage Dave. In the same way your team has worked tirelessly to create something viable, those who have been dedicated for a decade to what " The Autumn Bowl" represents to a larger community feels the same way. I'm just not sure why you guys felt you had to use the same exact name? I can not speak for everyone but I think this is the general consensus. I, for one, do not go to "The Autumn Bowl" anymore just because ethically the repurposing of it's name for your business is just exploitative to me. As far as how to "honor and engage the roots of the bowl", I am not sure what you mean by this because anything that could have been done should have been done at this point. But just out of curiosity, would your team consider dropping The Autumn Bowl name knowing that Dave did not give you actual permission to use it? Jilleen

Stay Tuned for the response..

UPDATE: 3/16/13

Hi Jileen,
We made the decision not to put on our public festival in September, less than a month before it was to happen. The Autumn Bowl was a month long series in our best effort to give the community of art lovers that come to our events something to hold onto in the place of Bring to Light. Unfortunately, we were not able to spend a significant amount of time tracking Dave down to ask about using the name, but I can assure you that if any of us had heard back from him and he asked us not to use the name, we would not have.
The series is now closed. We did not make money on it and to the best of my knowledge the space has been purchased and will not be open to the public again. I reached out to you in order to let you know that it's a small group of people behind the operation, trying their best to uphold the integrity of the space. We are not a large corporation, we are an art collective trying to present meaningful work to the public in the increasingly difficult cultural landscape of New York. We never would have used The Autumn Bowl as a name for our event series if we knew Dave or anyone else in its original community disapproved and we are sorry to have upset that community.
Best, Nicole

I think what it really comes down to large corporation or small collective is if you are going to use a name, respect the fact that whether you make money on it or not, you are basically stealing someone elses' steam. If this effort was about the meaningfulness of community, this could have been an opportunity to practice what that community should mean. It's a shame not more time was spent on either developing an original name or getting actual permission from Dave. Although I do appreciate her reaching out, in the end, the series is now defunct. I also basically wrote these same sentences as a response. I guess for whatever this email is worth, anyone that supports Autumn or was bummed on this situation can take this as an outdated apology on this particular group's behalf. An apology that somehow made it into my facebook spam mailbox and not Dave's email. Even stranger.

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