enculturating las vegas into the next millennium... art, dance, film, music, poetry, theater, history, nature and everything else that enriches the lives of those who live and visit southern nevada... Since 2003...

Monday, March 26, 2012

Las Vegas Artist Diane Bush "Toots her Own Horn"!

Artist Diane Bush
Every once and while I have guest bloggers speak about projects they are involved in. So when my friend Diane Bush approached me about writing about her art project I thought to myself why not have her write about it. I have known Diane for well over a decade and I have come to appreciate her talents both as an artist and as unapologetic arts advocate. Heck I learned so much from her, she could be considered one of my college profs!

Diane is one of Las Vegas' most talented artists and photographers. Her life experiences are interwoven beautifully into her art, and so when she comes up with new projects many in the community take notice. Below is a project Diane has been working on for the past year. Its worth taking a look at and of course supporting this amazing artist who is helping put Las Vegas on the world-wide arts map.

The Big Cover-Up by Diane Bush

Because Paco has so much on his plate, he suggested I guest blog here. Combining that opportunity and the sage advice of others, I will take this opportunity to “Toot my Own Horn!” I’ll start out by providing some background to all the ENCULTURATED fans out there, about USA ARTISTS FOUNDATION, and my connection to them. 

As a past subscriber to ART NEWS magazine, I used to read their regular column about various large and prestigious art awards, who was getting them, and who was giving them. Then I would Google the award, to see if I could apply or not. One of the newer foundations was called USA ARTISTS. Every year, they award 50 artists (because there are 50 states?) a $50,000 prize, which was wonderful, but like so many of these big prizes, one had to be nominated by someone with some clout, such a curator or someone of note in the art world. Even though I knew this was likely to be out of my reach, it was nice to know other artists were being rewarded for their hard work and talent.

Then, two years ago, I got a letter in the mail, saying I was nominated for one of these awards. After reading the letter 10 times or more, going on line to make sure we were talking about the same USA ARTISTS I had read about, I realized I had somehow, magically, been seen and recognized. Unfortunately, that was just the first step. I had to submit a formal application, which meant I had to write about my work, and writing about art is not my strongest talent. Despite having others look over my application, I was not selected, but the excitement was fun while it lasted.

The worst part was that I was not supposed tell anyone I had been nominated! Even Oscar nominees get to brag a little! Of course I verbally by-passed the “NO PRESS RELEASE” order, and told as many people as possible. Just being nominated could be the closest I’d ever get to this level of recognition, so I was not
going quietly into the night. People were genuinely excited for me, and for Las Vegas.

So that was that. Whoever nominated me (also a big secret) could nominate me again, but I doubted that was on the table. However, patience pays off. This year, USA ARTISTS has combined micro-philanthropy with social networking to create USA PROJECTS. Because I was in their pool of nominees, I was invited to submit another application, this time for a project.

I just had a successful first printing of my abstract bleached photos onto a woven blanket, thanks to my husband’s suggestion. Steven Baskin’s love of combining fine art with low- end consumer technology tools has artistically paid off in the past for us, and this was another flash of his genius. The invitation from USA PROJECTS came at just the right time. Taking inspiration from ex-Yippie founders such as Abe Hoffman (“Steal This Book”), Jerry Rubin, and modern day satirists, Steven Colbert and John Stewart, I created a project called “The Big Cover Up. The goal is to help folks connect art, fun, politics and free speech. They loved the idea of doing a London Agit-Prop style street -theatre performance where I would be giving away wearable warm blankets (now ponchos) to Occupiers and demonstrators for the 99% that would be taped for posterity.

Money raised goes to the production of blankets (numbered in a limited edition, and signed), travel, and a stipend for the videographer. USA PROJECTS, takes a small cut, but the tutorials, technical and other assistance, along with the 1:1 match funds that pushed donations at a critical time, are all worth it.

I am now very proud to report that “The Big Cover Up” successfully surpassed its funding goal of $2,500 twenty-three days ahead of schedule! We are continuing to bring in more funds to help offset the 19% payback to USA PROJECTS and to make additional blankets. So if you want to be on our team, it is not too late! You can donate up until April 1, 2012. Below is the link, where you can look at the blankets, donate for a perk, or just donate to say you were a part of it all.

Most donations are $5-$25, and that is how micro-philanthropy is done!!!!!

Here is the link: http://www.usaprojects.org/project/the_big_cover_up 

For more information about Diane Bush and her art and photography -  http://www.dianebush.net/

Brian Paco Alvarez enculturating Las Vegas into the millennium...

posted by Brian Paco Alvarez, Curator and Chronicler of Culture at


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