The North Shore Arts Alliance (NSAA) is currently hanging a show at our gallery and has been very well received. It is a wonderful exhibit presented by many of the talented member artists. There are over a dozen artists represented whose works range from photography to oils, watercolors and mixed media. The composition of the art includes portraits, abstracts, nature, plein air scenes and more. I found each piece to be exquisite and moving and especially loved the abstracts and lake scenes.
As part of our ongoing collaboration with the NSAA, we asked Susan Forrester MacKay of the NSAA to help us learn about the local arts council. It is the mission of the NSAA to contribute to the image, economic vitality and quality of life in Chautauqua County and I was curious to understand how they aspire to do so and asked. Susan very eloquently responded:
“A vibrant arts and cultural environment is crucial to a healthy community. An example of the impact on culture/civilization is the real fact that art, music, and the like, is what is remembered about that civilization. Museums, architecture and sculpture are what are visited most. No one really remembers who was in government!”
Ms. Forrester MacKay also stated that the NSAA has counted thousands of visitors over the 8 years of the “Studio Arts” trail while several hundreds regularly attend each of the 4 – 6 yearly exhibitions. Also “Cottage” industries have started with art-related services benefiting from increased need and interest. Tourists return to the Area each year (till they are almost “family”), staying at local bed and breakfasts, motels and hotels, eat at local restaurants, use gas stations, etc.
“Art teachers have used the new studio tour and gallery viewing opportunities to count as “Continuing Education Credits” for themselves and have encouraged students to attend, giving extra credit. People have exclaimed with pride that they had no idea of the “talent” to be found in the Area. And of course, the artists themselves have received monetary benefit and been encouraged to continue.”
Many of us go to Sensory Winery & Art Gallery for the wine and are fortunate to come across the many shows that rotate through the gallery. And I dare say there are wine drinkers who are now art converts…. in light of this notion, we asked Susan, What would be the single message you would give the ‘every-day Joe’ about appreciating the arts? And she replied:
That true art should be for everyone, everywhere. It should be available. Creative minds have been essential for mankind to see beyond themselves and progress (Cavemen drew on walls!).
Art is good for the soul and emerging artists today may be the Rembrandts of tomorrow. While commercial, factory created art may be a substitute, there’s nothing like meeting and talking to the person who created it. Even if that doesn’t happen at the viewing, artists are usually more than willing to talk another time.
Art can move you to feel, laugh, and empathize in ways you never considered. Go see something new, never, never let the arts die.