All through the Valley we can hear the chest beating and shoutin' from the mountain about "support local." We are encouraged to buy local from the shopkeepers. There are all sorts of things to buy. Food, clothing, and other goods and services. Many things we need and some we just want. When we buy local more money stays in our communities. You would think this is something that people like. Many of us have been reminded to support our local farmers. And that's a good thing.
I would like to extend this mindset to the arts community.
People are accustomed to buying a ticket for a musical performance or some other performing arts activity. This is pretty much ingrained as a way to add to our leisure time. However there is a flaw in the mindset when it comes to a visual art exhibit. We all see the announcement: Free art exhibit. If you go to the opening reception there will probably be free food. But the food cost somebody money. Usually that somebody is the artist. If the artist does not sell any work that person's creative time was not financially compensated.
Supporting local artists should also be part of the support local movement. There is no shortage of artists here in the Pioneer Valley. If people say they are supportive of the arts community they live in, then they should be buying artwork from local artists. It's that simple. There really is no reason to go to one of the big box stores to buy the store's retail idea of art! Sure , you can get a big piece of something to hang on your wall. Before you buy it look at the back. You probably know it's not made anywhere near here and the artist is most likely not from the area. Of course for the same expense your big box purchase will get you a larger sized piece. But the smaller sized piece will have far more value. Besides adding to the local economy you will get to meet the local artist. The artwork now has a more personal value.
If people say they are supportive of the arts community they live in, then they should be buying artwork from local artists. It's that simple.
A recent Hampshire Gazette article relating to the Florence Savings Bank fits into this support-local mindset. There is no shortage of creative people in the Valley. And no particular shortage of good photographers in the area. Businesses should also support the local talent. Of course any of the creative talents that were used in the past are very grateful . Why wouldn't they be?
Reading the article one reads some of the rationale for not using local photographers is because of logistics and cost. A quote from the article reads "it's not like the bank can afford to fly someone to Rome to photograph them in front of the Colosseum ". Well, hello, it's called Photoshop! Also, selfies can be made to look that way without using a cellphone camera and thereby yielding the necessary quality for the advertisement. Support local is a two way street.
Featured image by John Romanski.