NEHALEM - Local creativity finds an outlet as the Nehalem Bay Media Collective holds its second Media Arts Festival from 6 to 10 p.m. Friday, April 23 at the North County Recreation District. The focus will be on new work.

The collective formed as "a community group to facilitate creation and exchange of local contemporary culture," according to Phil Blanton, one of the organizers. "We are letting large conglomerates, who are concerned primarily with making lots of money, tell our stories, create our myths, influence what political information we receive, and pre-filter our access to art and music," he explained. "This situation creates a real risk of creating a 'monoculture' in which there is little room for regional differences or personal artistic expression. This is dangerous for everyone, whether liberal or conservative, but it is especially harmful to small rural communities like ours."

The collective has been meeting on the first and third Thursdays of each month at the Orpheus Community Cafe in Wheeler. "So far, the meetings have been mostly logistical," said Blanton, " but we hope to do more discussion, critique, etc. Meetings are very informal and anybody is welcome."

In addition to the Media Arts Festival, volunteers are working on cataloging local skills and talent, networking with other groups, starting new projects and looking into opening a digital media production studio.

Blanton explained that everyone has something real to contribute to his or her culture. "We can help each other to produce our own art and culture, and at the same time increase our awareness of what is going on around us," he said.


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