Authentic Artists

I suppose it's somewhat unfair of me to criticize Laura James' current piece of journalism regarding the opening of the new Pendleton Art Gallery at Newport on the Levee (The Big Picture, issue of J

Aug 1, 2007 at 2:06 pm

I suppose it's somewhat unfair of me to criticize Laura James' current piece of journalism regarding the opening of the new Pendleton Art Gallery at Newport on the Levee (The Big Picture, issue of July 25). After all, she was given the daunting challenge of writing an op-ed piece — or was it supposed to be art criticism? — heralding the arrival of an art gallery in a strip mall. Hardly an event of artistic import.

Further, it's plainly obvious that she was not given sufficient time in which to write her piece. That's the only plausible explanation as to why she was unable to develop a clear message and why she made numerous factual errors throughout her scant 15 paragraphs. Nevertheless, I feel compelled to respond.

James seems to be saying that most Pendleton artists choose to create art that is the equivalent of pop music and fluff fiction because we believe that's what will sell best in our bland, dumbed-down society. Perhaps, if she'd taken the time to actually speak to some of us, she would have discovered that most Pendleton artists are not out to sell but rather to make art that appeals, that pleases, that attempts to connect through shared interests, emotions and imagery.

We don't pretend to be avant garde, and we have no illusions about furthering art history.

In fact, few among us even possess a desire to shape the contemporary conversation about art. We are authentic, we are sincere and to whatever degree our talent and training allow us we offer up our best.

Unlike James, who lacks the confidence to boldly state her opinion, whatever it is, we at the Pendleton bravely put our art, which is our truest expression of who we are, before the public's eye for judgment. At the moment, we are grateful for the opportunity to be in the public's eye on a daily basis at Tower Place downtown and at Newport on the Levee as opposed to our previous once-a-month opportunity on Final Friday.

Are we motivated by blatant commercialism or a heartfelt desire to speak and be heard? I can't answer for the entire group on that score, and neither should James.

— Jennifer King Pendleton Art Center artist, Over-the-Rhine

Editor's Note: The Big Picture is an opinion column by Laura James that runs every other week.

Larry Should Write a Book
I loved Larry Gross' recent Living Out Loud column ("Todd's from E-Town," issue of July 25). His stories about what happens in everyday life are his best.

I know where Sophia's is downtown and have been in from time to time, and I could picture it all perfectly in my mind as I was reading. It was touching and funny.

Why doesn't Gross do a book about everyday life in Cincinnati? I'll be first in line to buy it.

— Heidi Ramsey, Newport

Here's the Truth!!!
I know you won't print this letter in your paper, but you sure can if you want. I'm sick of Larry Gross' silly little Living Out Loud column!

In his recent Todd story ("Todd's from E-Town," issue of July 25), Gross buys a guy a sandwich. What, he wants a medal for this? Same thing for previous Gross columns about picking up a dead dog on the highway or putting a postage stamp on some guy's letter.

Who the hell cares?!!! CityBeat needs to stop running this sap stuff and put up something interesting in the front of the paper. Print this truth if you dare!!!

— Mike McFadden, Westwood

Do You Have the Guts to Read This?
It's easy to see that the people of CityBeat are not real news people, as the content of the recent cover story "Dirty Laundry" (issue of July 18) was taken directly from union propaganda Web sites. Why didn't you title it "Unions Against Cintas"?

Let me tell you a little about Cintas and the wash alley operations. Yes, I run the wash alley at a Cincinnati Cintas location. I was trained by my brother, who ran the wash alley for years. When the story about the death of Eleazar Gomez first broke last winter, I knew he'd violated safety procedures.

If he had properly locked out and tagged out the conveyor as he had been taught, Gomez would still be with his family today. Why he didn't I don't know. I can only guess he was in a hurry, as lock out/tag out is an inconvenience. Maybe he just didn't think.

Neither I nor my brother have ever put ourselves in the position Gomez did. We are trained in how to properly handle all the equipment in the safest manner possible, and we follow those procedures. Most injuries my family has seen at any plant were caused by the worker's carelessness. We all get in a hurry, but sometimes the luck factor runs out.

My family and I love how the unions constantly are bashing Cintas, Walmart and any other large company out there. All they care about is how much they are losing in union dues; they don't care about the people. My brothers and I have seen first-hand from our parents how unions really work. My mother is a proud ex-Teamster.

At our plant we don't want or need union representation. I don't have to pay anyone any amount of money to talk to my boss for me. I gladly walk right into the general manager's office and speak my mind, and, yes, I am still employed without paying union dues.

I have great benefits, and at my plant we are all like a family. Management and regular employees socialize at each other's houses quite often, unlike at a union plant, where this is taboo.

The separation of management and employees as unions suggest would make my family life difficult. You see, three members of my family are Cintas partners and some are management. Not only do unions tell you who you can and cannot associate with, but they also tell you who to vote for, when to take break and when to do this and that. I wonder if their members do anything without them.

Reminds me of "Big Brother." I personally like to think for myself.

I really like how you brought up the Farmer family's political contributions in the story. Personally, I would not give a dime of my money to a political party backed by the unions that are intent telling me how to run my business, who constantly promote hate and discontent and who want to tell me how to live my life their way.

If you have the guts to print this, I want to tell your readers this: Cintas is a great place to work if you can get beyond all the union propaganda. We support our community and the world through Matthew 25: Ministries, something no one mentions. We come together in our plant and help provide when one of our own is suffering. Any time a major tragedy hits at other locations, all Cintas Partners dig deep to help out.

We have a nice working environment with free access to talk to whom we want to when we want to. We can even send e-mail all the way to the top of the corporate tower or speak personally to Mr. Farmer or any Vice President whenever they come to our plant. If anyone is so disgruntled with their jobs, as you say, why don't they quit and go find a nice union job? Oh wait, that's right: Most union shops are laying off or closing down and moving out of the country.

So, Cincinnati, the next time CityBeat is trashing on someone you will have to think: Who really is paying for this article? In the "Dirty Laundry" case, it appears to be funded by unions and the Democratic Party.

— Cody Sexton, Blanchester, Ohio