TITLE: Where is Worth?
DATE: 9/28/2004 06:21:00 PM
If you know me personally, you know I grew up in the midwest. Kansas, to be specific. And while at this point I have mostly transformed (sometimes against my will) into an East Coaster, there are some unreachable parts of my heart that just want to hop on a plane and high tail it out of here. There is, however, one specific thing that the East Coast has over the midwest.
No, I'm not thinking of ivy league schools. No, great museums and superior architecture aren't springing to my mind.
Without a doubt, the East is THE place to sell your art or craftwork. More specifically... it is THE place where you can expect to receive what your work is worth.
Now, think about this very carefully. I'm not theorizing. I travel frequently to arts events across the country and have seen this in practice.
Do you live in a midwestern state and have trouble selling your work at local galleries, fairs, or festivals? Do you feel you have strong work and a reasonable pricing method? If you answer 'yes' to both of these, take time to seriously consider how you can get your work to the East Coast at least once a year.
Sure, LA may be the newly crowned center of the contemporary fine art arena. But, LA cannot compete with the combined population density of the New York, Philadelphia, Boston, and DC areas. The I-95 corridor is a hot spot for showing in galleries, selling at trade shows, advertising in high quality publications, and courting art or craft collectors. Many astute art appreciators live in this area, most of the major art and decor magazines are produced here, trade shows and galleries are open for business and (mostly) continue to thrive here, and the East Coast climate is more accepting of work that fits outside the traditional academic system.
Kansas? It was a great place to grow up. It would be a great place to move back to some day. It would be a beautiful place to have a studio and make art. However, it is not the ideal location to making a reliable living through selling artwork.
To live in the midwest and be a working artist would require thinking big, looking outside the area, and building a network well beyond reach of the back door.