Monday Mood: Thriving Art in the Small Towns of America

Updated: Apr 20


I thought this sign from Bath, NH perfectly illustrated how remote the town is.

There’s two things that I could recognize were going on here that I really supported and I think that we, especially those who are in the bigger cities, could learn from. The first, and the easiest, was that people were buying all of their art and decoration from local artists and craftsmen. There wasn’t any print shop selling the same generic garbage we’re all used to and people weren’t resorting to the easy online measure, they were happy to see art being made locally and they wanted to support it. We could learn from that because I think those of us who are spoiled and in areas with tons of art forget that those artists need support, and need a way to continue to make. The other thing that I thought was interesting was the adaptive nature of the art, none of the artists were trying to do too much or go too crazy. In a field that is a non-necessity, you have to find a way to survive and as an artist you have to make what people want. That might not satisfy your “creative needs” but it’ll make you a living. I always like to use the landscape painter at the beach as an example; every experimental installation sculptor working at T.G.I. Friday’s is quick to say it’s not art but that landscape painter is making a living painting, and this person hasn’t made anything in almost a year. The principle is that sometimes you have to make what will sell, and if you can find a way to have fun with that then you’re still making a living off of art. In contemporary art we often forget how spoiled we are but I think that seeing these galleries, as simple as they are, surviving in such small, basic towns gave me a lot of hope as to where art is heading and how willing people are to be patrons of it.

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