Updated: Jan 31
American Express created a great campaign several years ago--Small Business Saturday--which local businesses all over the country participated in last weekend on Saturday, November 30th. The catch-phrase "Shop Small" associated with this weekend event is well on its way to becoming sort of a household term. It's catchy. It's memorable. And it's smart. Here are 5 great reasons to "Shop Small" again December 7th at "Art Under the Cupola," sponsored by Buena Vista's Heritage Museum and Chaffee Arts.
1. Art Under the Cupola coincides with the Buena Vista Christmas Opening. Check out the Christmas Parade of Lights, the Tree Lighting, the Polar Plunge, and so much more. For a complete schedule of events, see the Christmas Opening Web page.
2. The artwork and goods are unique. That may seem like a no-brainer, but really, it's worth considering when gifting this holiday season. Many artists make one-of-a-kind items which are not only unique in themselves but also unique to each artist's talents, sensibilities, and mediums. In an age when we are overcome with the homogenous, cluttered material landscape of Christmas--same trees, same ornaments, same clothing options, same gift wrapping, same you-name-it--buying a hand-made item from a local artist or craftsperson guarantees a sort of freshness you won't find at any department store. And, while it's not guaranteed the person receiving the gift will love it, the chances are much higher he or she will love it, or at least like it a lot!
3. Small businesses centered on the arts are good for everyone. It's true. Any quick survey online on the benefits of art will confirm that the arts--all of them--and artists and art works in general can open up our perceptions, help us claim our space and meaning in a community, bring support to a myriad of businesses, help us identify strongly with a place, and so much more. By supporting local artists and art organizations, you are in turn helping to bring vitality to your local community that otherwise cannot be obtained. Artists and the works they produce have the unique qualities of deepening and broadening the towns and cities they inhabit. No other medium comes close to bringing people together for so many good reasons.
4. Often, the products and works of art contain more intrinsic value than mass-produced goods. What do I mean? Well, for one thing, artists will often take a hit on the materials or their time spent to produce the piece just so that you will buy the work. Obscure artists--and that's most of us--cannot afford to charge more for our works or our time in many small town markets. So that means that sometimes the materials are covered in the price, but maybe none or only part of the labor. Or sometimes the materials expense is only partially recouped in the price, especially at the end of the day or a long weekend of festival sales. That means YOU, the buyer, often walk away with an item that is packed with TLC, skill, sweat, and tears--and you may not have had to pay for those intrinsic qualities.
5. Artists don't create in a vacuum. Artists with a healthy outlook on their work and the buying community know that art that comes back home after the festival isn't (yet) reaching its intended potential. No self-respecting artist is so in love with his or her work that they're content to hang onto it indefinitely, bound up by some strange separation anxiety. Those who create can do that best when their pieces go away: when another person sees and becomes enamored with a piece of art, that new "love relationship" affirms and vindicates the creator on a deep soul level. I'd venture to say not many artists can articulate that satisfaction very well--and yes, it goes far beyond whatever money changes hands. See, creating art is really only possible when the consummation happens--when a happy customer walks away with a painting, a photo, a work of fiber arts, a mosaic, glasswork, or jewelry that speaks loudly to him or her. If work comes home from a festival, it's muted, and over time, that will silence the creative voice of an artist.
So, come join some great artists at the Heritage Museum THIS SATURDAY, Dec. 7, 10 a.m.-4 p.m. You will benefit the artists and yourself.