Friday, September 14, 2007

All fired up...

Today, I was driving home and a more obscure Clash song, "Ivan meets GI Joe" from their album Sandinista came on the radio, and I was overjoyed. It isn't one of my favorite songs but it still got me excited and then I starting to wonder why I felt that way.

First, the song is catchy. Second, the Clash will always be towards the top of my list. Third, the song is not the usual fodder for the college radio station, as the track is from an album from 1980. The real reason behind my that listening to that song on the radio gives me a sense of identity and community.

Okay... so what am I talking about?

There are artists in my town and probably your town too who are searching for a sense of identity and community, and they are having a hard time finding it. I live in a nice town, with a University, an arts center, a few galleries, and occasionally, many art events. Culture is touted as a amenity here. We have the Arts festival, Art Market, Art Amiss, BFA & MFA students, professional artists, gallery owners, a few arts collectives, and art lovers all here in this nice little melting pot, but somehow we aren't always melting.

Over the years, there have been meetings of the minds, ideas for studio spaces, and valiant attempts at promoting the arts and culture in this town. Some of us get involved when we can, and some complain about what is not here and yet do nothing. Some of us do both. Then, some of us are on the fringe and don't know about the meetings, or the groups that are trying to do something. Some of us keep our mouths shut as not to offend.

Well, I say enough! There has got to be a grass roots way to get us out of our homes, studios, sometimes cliquish events, and get us together in the same room talking about what we really need and want for ourselves and each other as artists.

I am talking about getting together for fun and community. Of course, not all groups of people are going to get along. Unfortunately, some people are going to think someone doesn't belong in the mix. Labels will be thrown around- crafts, quilts, pottery, fine art, abstract, installation, amateur, - there will be no pleasing all for sure. We all have our styles and our personalities. I still think we need to know one another and be aware of each other's work and aspirations.

My ultimate desire, is that I can keep doing what I am doing, making, showing, selling, and talking about art. However, I want to do that with a vibrant community of artists, talking together, sharing our successes and failures, obstacles, and desires. I want to be a part of an inclusive and connected group of proactive artists.

Anyone want to get together and talk about making art? This means you!

See "Subterranean" at the DDP gallery
7 East Mountain St. Fayetteville.
Open: W-F 12-7 and Sat. 10-5
and by appointment.

"Intuition" Works by Megan Chapman and Helen Phillips
August 15- September 29 2007


  1. I agree completely. I think that it's pretty common for artists to have a tendency towards isolation or at least privacy, though. Not to generalize that all artists are introverts.....

    but do you know what I mean?

    I think organizing any number of people is a daunting task, too. So I read what you've written and I think, "Yes, yes!" but then, "Well...uh...who's going to get them all together? Not me...I have the usual list of lame, but true, excuses (job, child)."

    Maybe we could ask KXUA to have a secret code song so when they play it, we'll all just show up Batman-style, at someone's house, ready to combine our forces.

  2. I would love to do something to bring the Fayetteville art community together. Unfortunately, I'm not in the right place at the right time. Maybe I can get involved when I am next around (despite not being an artist and definitely not being 'local'). Anyway, my big idea would be a monthly pot-luck dinner party. It could be hosted at a different house every month with the host providing the place and the other artists providing the food. I know - it is a bit of a kufuffle to organise these things but it is always worth the effort.

  3. I've been thinking about this now a few days and the potential and the power and the impact of bringing together artist is amazing to think about. It is nothing less complicated than bringing together one hundred leaders of different religious faiths, but WOW! think of the power that kind of event would have.

    A little closer to reality, I agree that there are so many "versions" of artists that the act of bringing lots of "us" together needs to be under an incredibly broad and loosly defined umbrella. I am one who believes everyone is an artist in some way, in the sense that we all are curious and creative beings. We can learn a lot from each other in a forum like this, as we keep an open mind.

    For example, I think of the Monday Knight Night at Hand Held, and there you have a small setting surrounded by yarn in hundreds of colors and styles, a diverse group of knitters, and some wine where creativity and collaboration and learning and and and!!

    Ultimately, I think I share your vision of someday having a PLACE where local artists can gather and work. What if there was a place where one could rent a space to paint, or build, or solder, or teach or experiment or WHATEVER, but the equiptment was communal. Like an athletic club, only for artists!

  4. I say YES! of course getting all of us together in the same place at the same time is akin to hearding a pack of cats, but what the hell?! it shouldn't stop us from trying...

    and stephanie, I second your suggestion for a community based arts club of sorts. I've had something like that in my head off and on for years, and I still believe there's a need for it in our community. hey, maybe that could be one of our first topics of discussion over a potluck dinner!

    count me in, Megan ;-).