Wednesday, September 15, 2010

The Art(s) of Economic Revitalization

I've always liked Lynn Cardwell's work.  Her pottery is at once useful and beautiful, as you can see if you visit her page on   I've also taken claywork classes from her, and I enjoy her laid-back, supportive teaching style.  This fall she'll be teaching at the Davis Center at Fellows Riverside Gardens and at the Davis branch of the YMCA.

But I have to admit that what I appreciate most about Lynn is the creative work she does helping to build and promote the local arts community.  Together with Marcie Applegate, she founded the Artists of the Mahoning Commons, which will hold its next open house and art show November 20, 21, and 27.  That organization, built around the artists who have studios in the Ward Bakery Building, supports the artists by helping them find audiences -- and customers.  That might sound crass, but if artists don't sell their work, they can't support themselves. 

That said, this group and other local arts organizations do more than support artists.  They contribute to the quality of life of our community.  They help us think creatively about who we are and what this place means.  We need them every bit as much as we need new businesses or jobs. 

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