Don’t Deanna Isaacs and the Reader have a journalistic obligation to verify facts rather than act as an unfiltered conduit for unsubstantiated accusations? If Deanna had checked with the Illinois Arts Council or other Acme members she would have heard a much different story. The two recent articles [December 31 and January 7] give a one-sided story.

The flooding [at the Acme Artists’ Community] is worse because certain members of the Acme condo association have been blocking [Near Northwest Arts Council] and its contractors from making plumbing repairs to the complex since August. The Acme Artists condo association has refused to hire a professional property management yet continues to blame NNWAC for maintenance issues.

As NNWAC informed Deanna, and despite claims by David Hernandez that he no longer plays a role, he initiated performance-poetry programming in 2003 and 2004 at NNWAC Acme Art Works Gallery. The year before, NNWAC had provided rehearsal space to David and Street Sounds and reported this service within its grant to the Illinois Arts Council. NNWAC asked for and received permission from all three artists when writing grants for arts education programs; NNWAC wrote more than eight grants seeking support, but none yielded funding. The NNWAC board responded to David Hernandez, Gamaliel Ramirez, and Star Padilla with facts about the grants and considers that the accusations are without merit.

The claims that we artists “are exploited with very little benefit from any NNWAC programs”: Hernandez neglects to mention that NNWAC negotiated a redevelopment agreement with the city which yielded substantial subsidies for artists. In 2003 NNWAC provided David Hernandez with substantial financial assistance in the purchase of his home and cash assistance for closing costs. Despite his many complaints, he writes in a letter to the NNWAC board on December 31, 2004, “I am very happy here.”

It’s David Hernandez who has a debt to NNWAC; it’s he who has raised ingratitude to the level of art. As long as his complaining gets him more press than his poetry, and the Reader plays along, we will hear no end to his troubles.

Laura Weathered


Deanna Isaacs replies:

In the 11 months since I first wrote about the Acme Artists’ Community I’ve talked with at least a dozen people who live there. I spoke with NNWAC’s executive director, board chairman, and another board member before writing in January about the request by Hernandez, Ramirez, and Padilla to see NNWAC grant applications that might have used their names. My article included the comments of the executive director and chairman.