Sunday, November 15, 2015

Prairie Art Renaissance

Making art is a lonely business. Just as very few high school athletes grow up to sign professional sport contracts, limited numbers of painters, sculptors, photographers, poets,  actors, singers, and song writers achieve fame or financial success as a result of their efforts. Such individuals work in the privacy of homes and garages without anyone but family or close friends knowing they painted a luminous prairie sunrise or captured a reenactment of buffalo soldiers crossing the South Solomon River. Fortunately, for inspired spirits who call the prairie home, more communities are collaborating to share their efforts-- a deal that benefits both parties.

In addition to annual shows in Norton, Hill City, Nicodemus and Phillipsburg sponsored by area art supporters, Stockton business owners have teamed up to host an art walk on Sunday November 22nd from 2 – 5 p.m. At this time, six downtown stores have invited regional painters and photographers to display work and chat with visitors. Anyone interested is welcome to meet these creators, grab a snack, and appreciate locally produced paintings, mosaics, and photographs.

Cheryl Calvin, owner of Sand Creek Mercantile, shares that this innovative group plans four such events throughout the upcoming year, exposing even more talent to the public. This approach keeps energy and interest high and offers supporters more occasions to appreciate varied styles and techniques.

Personally, I’m thrilled to see grass root support of regional art expanding. Few true creatives have the business acumen or training to promote their own work. As a result, you’ll find it sitting on dusty shelves or hanging on walls that no one sees. When individuals who have such proven ability get involved, it means local artists receive exposure and potential income.

 In addition, well-advertised campaigns attract visitors from surrounding areas, which expands a supporting business’s client base. Such opportunities open doors to consignment fees for gallery space. Even better, the public learns they can afford to hang hometown artists’ works on their walls.

Nature understands the advantage of symbiotic relationships where one creature or plant benefits another. Think of yuccas and the moths that fertilize their blossoms or cattle and the birds that pick irritating insects off these ruminating bovines. Our Great Plains landscape affords many examples of creatures whose lives benefit one another. Local businesses and artists working together provide a perfect pairing to help one another thrive while making the rest of our lives richer through their efforts.

Our region of the sunflower state pulses with the energy of accomplished artists. However, few of us have seen their work. Trade people who understand the benefit of inviting the public into their businesses not only to purchase a product or service but also to appreciate landscapes, still lifes,  portraits, sculpture, photographs and more  function like that all important yucca moth. They germinate  community spirit so our descendants can live the good life on the prairie in another hundred years.

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