Saturday, August 07, 2010

The Little Engine That..... ???

It's been a loonnngggg time since I've mentioned 'The Shop.'

'The Shop' being that little artists co-op which came together on a wing and a prayer last November. "You mean that place is still up and running?" you ask. Hell Yeah!... Well, in a manner of speaking.

"In a manner of speaking?" you say. Well, let's just say it's been a long, hard road. At times, one might consider 'The Shop' wildly successful. I mean, what other business comes together in just 2 weeks time, manages to stay afloat without the use of credit card capabilities or even a phone line. What other business manages to draw people in even though the roof leaks and there's an odor along the line of old shoes wafting through the air. (by the way, it's August now and sure, maybe it's due to the lack of rain, but I think the leaks and odor problem are under control.)

So yeah, leaky roof and Master Card/Visa issues aside, we're still managing to plod along and my husband will tell you that this experience has been huge a character builder for me.

It's probably no secret that artists are unique people with their own distinct ideas about 'What IS and ISN'T Art.' And when ideas and visions collide, things tend to get rather complicated. So yes, as Manager/Facilitator/Grand PooBah (whatever title you want to give it) of this endeavor, dealing with complications has been a monthly, weekly, daily, sometimes hourly event... And why do I continue to do it? Well, despite the fact I often feel like a fly caught in a web or maybe more aptly, the captain of the Titanic*... I DO have a reason, a goal if you will, to make this work.

*Just an aside here but were any of you aware they're coming out with a Titanic II? No joke, actually yes, it is a lot like a joke that apparently the producers of the film are the only ones oblivious to... See the preview here and try not to laugh.

This is where I could go into my 'I have a dream' speech but I'll just whittle it down to one sentence. I'd like to replace EVERY, okay at least HALF of the bail bonds offices with Artist Studios... Well now, seeing that staring back at me, in black and white... It even LOOKS stupid! But the truth is, our town needs something positive to build on and if the powers that be, all work together, I believe that positive 'thing' is ART.

Last night we had a First Friday event which included 2 visiting artists, live music and fresh fruit and vegetables donated by a local grower, for refreshments. We greeted 40 people or so, who seemed to thoroughly enjoy themselves but alas, sales were low. You see, that's are one problem, despite the fact we have beautiful one of a kind pieces of art, jewelry, purses, skin care products and low priced gently used books, we're just not making the sales we need to stay viable (ECONOMY). This is such a tragedy since our goals are so lofty. In fact, here's our vision and mission statement:


The arts are a vital component of any community. They foster pride, spur growth and contribute to the happiness and well being of the people who live there. In order to promote the arts in _________, we will establish commercially viable venues for artists and artisans to create, showcase, and sell their work to others. In addition, these venues will allow artists from this and other communities to meet and get to know one another, and to share their knowledge and their talents with others in our community.

Mission Statement:
  • To establish a commercially viable venue in __________ for local artists and artisans to assemble.
  • To provide artists with the opportunity to create, to showcase, and to sell their work.
  • To foster a co-operative environment for the purpose of attracting business and sharing the artists talents with others.
  • To advance the arts district in __________, and give back to the community with special events and other promotions.

It's funny, I read through this again and the unity I felt last night came to mind. Customers were stopping in before or after they explored the art show opening at the nearby Arts Council, friends and acquaintances mingling, viewing and discussing the artwork and enjoying the delicious bounty of fresh organic fruits and vegetables by the local grower. Later in the evening my daughter and I took part in a collaborative art project at the studio of some fellow downtown artists. My daughter and myself were thrilled to find such a friendly and talented clutch of people with whom we could take part in creating art. It's all a part of what I've been hoping we'd achieve downtown but without the sales, our little shop isn't going to last... And I don't know, maybe it doesn't matter, maybe we got the ball rolling.

But, do me a favor if you will? Keep your fingers crossed that this little engine is going to see a successful Fall season.... And with the continued effort by all the artists involved... which entails copious amounts of Inspiration and Perspiration, we'll eventually make it wildly successful in ALL aspects!



Blogger lime said...

it all begins slow and small. yes, my fingers are crossed...though in a practical card capability could really help.

4:06 PM, August 08, 2010  

Post a Comment

<< Home