Filling the role of gallery owner has many glorious and exciting moments but lately it can be very depressing. As like so many other businesses, galleries are going through a difficult time. We have been there before, most recently in 2001. During each crisis I felt that the field of art would never recover and much would be lost forever. There are many institutions that are gone as we once knew them. NEA and artist's grants come to my mind immediately. As a receipent of 2 good sized grants, I can speak frankly about what that allowed artists to do. For me, I had the gift of time and made several pieces of art that were over 6 feet tall. Only a few such opportunities are available today and they are funded by private foundations.
Now the situation seems much more dire. I have artist friends very close to loosing their homes and studios. Most artists don't have health insurance anyway so they don't have that to loose. Many are considering what else they can do if not be an artist. Most are like me and art has been their passion since childhood. They have never known anything else. I have never held a job outside of art. What a tragedy if we were to loose this community of artists! I know some of our population considers art a luxury for the affluent to play with or not of much importance to life. The Arts are so often the first to be cut from school budgets and is the last element in our homes or offices. And yet historically the arts are what cultures are known for and what remains after the petty events of the time melt away. Long after the sofa is gone, the piece of art that was purchased to accompany it is still loved. Those who actively collect can gaze at a piece of work and recall the entire experience of the purchase besides absorbing the wonder of the piece of art. Now more than at any other time in recall, we need the experience of the human hand and spirit. We need to touch the passion of the artist and maybe hold a bit of it for ourselves. I think this is an opportunity to become more human and reconsider our priorities. Our President is taking the lead in thinking creatively and we can follow in our daily lives by appreciating the visual around us. We can give more consideration to the beauty and meaning our eyes bring to us. A work of art will enrich our lives now and continue to do so as long as in our possession.