Farewell, Manzanillo Artist Enclave…what does this tell us?

Manzanillo Artist Enclave - in partial disassembly

Manzanillo Artist Enclave - in partial disassembly

Upon returning home from a brief holiday trip, I saw this notecard:

For the new year, Mark and I have made a few resolutions and will be starting anew on several levels including SL. Unfortunately, this extends to Manzi which we will begin tearing down immediately. If you have the opportunity to collect your items, please do or we can start returning them to you after the 1st.

We want you to know that you are what made Manzi what we envisioned and loved having your art around to selfishly enjoy for ourselves. It was certainly our pleasure to provide all of you with a place to hang your art and hopefully gave you an opportunity to show to others in SL!

I would also like for all of you to know that what I believe the best part of SL for me has been meeting all of you, the friendship, the conversations, all I’ve learned from you, and the laughs. I’m not leaving SL permanently but I won’t be around very often. I’ve missed being more involved with Manzi and putting on shows for you and I’m going to miss everything it has brought to my life and that includes you. Thank you for hanging around here and your constant support which I truly appreciate and value.

Much Love,
Michelle Babii
Mark Athens

I didn’t make a big deal of it (largely because I’m not much of an artist), but I was part of Manzi and am proud to have had the opportunity to be associated with Michelle, Mark and the many other artists and personalities that made up the “Artist Enclave”.  It was a pleasure to have a unique little gallery space of my own – a room, that’s all, but it was enough.

Reading between the lines and knowing a little of their personal situation, let me summarize my perspective on this development with some first-person perspective: It is very hard to run a successful Second Life community hub. Manzi served this purpose for a few months, and it does not surprise me that Michelle and Mark chose to take their lives in other directions.

At the same time, their withdrawal does not suggest that Second Life and its many communities (including artists) does not need places like Manzi (or Oyster Bay, for that matter).  It most certainly does.  I hope that some other venue owner picks up the mantle and strives to become the hub for activity in the artistic world of the grid.  Xander Ruttan’s Cetus district does a strong job at this.

The other big lesson I’m taking from Manzi’s exit is that for a hub concept to work, it requires either slavish devotion to the property and its goings-on by the owner or the active involvement/participation of many leaders.  Simply put, many hands make light work.  The challenge I see is that SL’s artist community as individuals are loathe to devote themselves to a single property or location unless it is their private gallery.  Some do, to be certain, but most are working to have their works shown in as many locations as possible.  This may be good for the artist, but it does nothing to sustain the venue owner who needs active participation for a facilty to survive.  Had Michelle and Mark been able to count upon some help in managing Manzi, perhaps it may have survived (longer).  Perhaps not.  We’ll never know.

Anyway, it’s a shame when such a great duo has to move on.  That’s the transitory nature of Second Life, and it’s also a main reason why places like Tayzia Abbatoir’s Crescent Moon Museum are so fantastic.  Resilience has a place up there with uniqueness and distinction, at least on the grid.

Here’s to Michelle and Mark.  They tried where others didn’t.  That is worthy of commendation.  I hope they do indeed stick around the grid – we need more people like them!

3 Responses

  1. I’m sorry to hear this, but I do understand. These kind of community projects tend to take a visionary, and turn them into an administrator. Been there, done that, myself. I’ve been an administrator enough in TAW; don’t want to keep doing it in SL too. But I can’t seem to stop myself from committing to new projects, and helping people run them – just can’t quite quit doing what comes so naturally for me to do!

  2. Thank you for a great post Morris. I was also part of Manzi, and was sorry to see it go. I believe it does take a lot of good leadership and commitment to run a great artist community and let it persevere. As an artist, I wish I had more time to devote to the art communities in SL, but I don’t even have time to go to all the openings unfortunately. I do look forward to continuing belonging to the art community of SL as a whole, and am proud to have such amazing friends here.

  3. Wow! Thank you so much, Morris, for your kind words and hitting the nail on the head. While Mark and I absolutely enjoyed supporting artists and providing a venue for displaying their art, we could no longer give the time and energy required to keep Manzi busy and thriving. We haven’t been able to for a while with the changes in our RL. We will miss Manzi and our friends. ❤

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