Lately we have been bombarded with news of impending recession and if we are lucky recession is all we will have to face.
As an artist this news doesn't concern me as it does many Americans. The personal economy of artists and the economy of the Fine Arts in general don't necessarily hinge on the economic state of Middle Class America. Traditionally the driving economic force behind the arts has been the wealthy. In fact, when the overall economy is suffering, this often means that the wealthy have more money, resources and power than ever. For example, I never hear complaints about high fuel prices from my wealthy friends who heavily invest in Gas and Oil. Strangely though, I am beginning to hear complaints from the wealthy about the high cost of Manhattan and European Fine Art and Antiques.
The American Dollar continues to fall like so many dead leaves from Autumn trees and a cold winter wind is blowing. The Euro however is rocketing into prominence like a 4th of July firework. Many reports are coming out of Manhattan stating that Europeans are spending Euros like mad on American Art and Antiques, because of their currency's strength against the feeble Dollar. In fact signs saying "Euros Only" are appearing in gallery windows.
This is putting American Collectors into a tough position. Collecting Art by the wealthy is much more than an obsession: it is also an investment, and the general rule for collecting for investment is "Buy the Best". Well, the Europeans are buying most of the best, leaving American collectors to fight over the scraps. In addition, it is no longer lucrative for art and antique dealers to import from Europe, and American collectors no longer have easy access to these valuable investments.
Now American Art Collectors are turning to contemporary, regional, American Artists to fulfill their collecting and investing desires.
To reiterate what I have been saying in this blog, we have a tremendous resource in the artists of our Valley. Many of us have been selling our work to those very collectors for years now. We can easily tap into the National and International Art Markets in a much more profound way if we can work together and get REAL support from the powers within our community.
Here is a list of things I would like to accomplish in the next 6 months: Create a stronger unity amongst Valley artists, Use this unity to promote Valley art nationally and internationally, establish strong contacts with European collectors, and establish Youngstown in the Manhattan and European mindset as a Cultural Mecca. To help assist in accomplishing these goals I would be happy to hold meetings to discuss and formulate plans. Email me: Artbake777(at)aol.com.
The above was written from my intellect. Now let me speak from my spirit:
Youngstown, here is another Golden Opportunity laid at your feet. Will you ignore it like you have so many other opportunities over the past 30 years? Are you still blinded by ignorance and pain? So much so that you won't care for the Geese laying the Golden Eggs?
Many years ago when I arrived In Youngstown, I felt God (the Ultimate Artist) himself lead me here, and over the years encouraged me to stay to help keep a cultural light burning in a dark place. Now I feel as though time might be ending for myself and most other artists here, due mainly to the many years of disrespect directed at us by local leaders and others. Currently, in my heart I am very troubled. To quote Jesus from the Book of Luke, Chapter 10 verses 10-12:
"Whatever town you enter and they do not receive you, go out into the streets and say: 'The dust of your town that clings to our feet, even that we shake off against you'. Yet know this: the Kingdom of God is at hand. I tell you it will be more tolerable for Sodom on that day than for that town".
Some of the Holiest, Wisest, Most Compassionate people in this town are the Artists.
Don't ever forget that Youngstown.