I recently attended a function where a speaker said something similar to “I didn’t used to believe there was any art community west of Highway 270. I thought art was only for the St. Louis urban culture.”
At first, as a St. Charles native, I was offended but as an artist, I knew there was a certain amount of truth to that statement. I have found that in order to make any money selling art I have to go to other communities and sometimes out of state to find people who will flock to art events. I know that in order to be seen by a higher percentage of people, I should go elsewhere. The thing is, I believe in our community and I love it. I participate in St. Charles Art as much as possible because it is definitely alive and growing, but there are still so many more who don’t even realize that they can benefit from this wonderful LOCAL community.
Do you want to support people who work hard? I think there is a myth that artists are not hard workers, they just throw something together and make tons of money. None of that is true. To create something that is visually pleasing takes more creativity, patience and talent than most realize. I can tell you from first-hand experience that most artists I know are some of the hardest-working people I know. Most have ‘normal’ jobs and work their art as a second job, putting most of their free time and their dreams into it. Some have been laid off and turn to their art to help them bridge the income gap, and others have the freedom to create full time because they are the second income or because they are retired. There are all sorts of different situations but let me tell you that most artists I know have creativity woven into the fabric of their being and they are passionate about creating even when it may not be that profitable. Isn’t there something to be said about doing something not for the money but for the love and the passion of it?
Many people work at their careers with or without passion but do it mainly for the money. Think about the artist who creates not just for the money, but because their soul is speaking so loud that they have to put it into the world in the language of whatever art they have chosen. An artist is someone who wants to bring their visions to life so that if you glance upon what they’ve created you may stop, if only for a moment to have it ‘speak’ to you.
A piece of art is one persons’ dream brought into the physical world to make our everyday lives more beautiful or to simply make a statement. Art is a language that is all around us that we often don’t take the time to truly see or appreciate. It’s in the hallway of our businesses, in our homes, hospitals, doctors offices and in the general world we live in.
Do you really want to buy that cheap piece of mass produced art sold in your local department store or would you rather, now and then, save your pennies to buy something that the artist has envisioned, seen, created, touched, loved, and put out into the world? Think about that for a moment, what would really make your office or your home more “rich”, cheap department store art, or your neighbors’ art which is often more affordable than you realize? Isn’t part of what is wrong with our economy today the fact that everything is mass produced as cheaply as possible overseas? Most things are often ‘created’ by machines instead of people. Isn’t this one of the many reasons our unemployment is so high? Why good, hard-working people can’t find jobs and are losing hope? We should support small business but don’t forget that artists are business people as well. Art is their work, their passion, and business. Artists are your neighbors, not just some stranger selling wares.
Today I challenge you to SEE your surroundings everywhere you go. Ask yourself, what would it be like if there were no sculptures in the park, no art on the walls?
If you haven’t been to a show in a long time, you are missing art for your man cave. You’re missing jewelry for yourself or wife that was created more originally and thoughtfully (and often more inexpensively) than that diamond ring. You are missing a signature piece for your home or office wall that will have your friends and customers talking, or a sculpture that will show people that you appreciate the creativity of the hands that molded it. Art is not just for the stuffy, or the rich. It is for everyone whether you are conservative, liberal, outgoing, or introverted. It is for the nature lover as well as the city dweller, the party person and the peace maker. Art speaks to people of all income levels and backgrounds. Don’t sell yourself short by thinking it’s not for you. Art is for anyone and everyone. Show local artists that they don’t have to always travel to other communities to have their art seen, appreciated and purchased. Shop your local artists, for they are creating things that are not only worth our time but worth our investment.
I am an artist who never used to appreciate the gift these wonderful people put their souls into. It wasn’t until I became part of this wonderful 'art' community that I truly appreciate it and I feel that I would be remiss if I didn’t try to help bridge the gap. Come out to your local art shows, look at what your neighbors have created. You think you can't afford it? It doesn’t cost anything to come out and see it. You may be surprised at what art can offer you.
Art shows to watch for and attend:
April 27-29 /Spring Art Walk on the north end of Main street – indoors
September 14 - 16 /Mosaics Festival for the Arts
September 28 /O’Fallon Art Expo
If you are one of those who support local artists, thank you.
I have named just a few upcoming art happenings, if you have more, please put them in the comments below. The more art, the better!