Written by Rachel Bessman
Art is something that reveals the essential, hidden truth of life. It moves us and inspires us, it creates an atmosphere in our homes and surroundings. Art can be anything – from fine paintings, to sculptures, jewelry, and even words. It is unique, created just for you, and irreplaceable. The American poet Robert Frost said, “The thing that art does for life is to clean it – to strip it to form”.
We know these things without being told, and therefore it seems to always go without saying that we should support the arts and our local art communities. For me, living in Annapolis with such a thriving and diverse art community, it seems only natural. Our streets are filled with galleries from local artists, our bars and coffee shops all have it displayed for sale, and many of our buildings are adorned with beautiful murals. It adds a vibrancy and a pulse to an otherwise quiet, historic city.
I spoke to artists in my community to get their opinions on why we should not only support their profession, but why we should give and receive art. Annapolis artist, musician and publisher Jimi Davies had this to say:
“When people purchase art from local artists, it supports them, their families and the community. Art is one of the riches of a community. There is no better expression of the health of a community than the reflection of that health in the art that is created. Music and art are the social commentary of the people. Art and music not only entertain but they also heal and unite. They are expressions of universal truths and voices that transcend generations. Art enriches the spirit of the community as it brings attention and business to the communities that they are created in. Art aides the beholder in communing with ideas and feelings shared in the human experience. Art is inherent even in the words eARTh and heART.” He added, “Art lives beyond all else.”
And with holiday season approaching, now may be one of the best times to start looking for art for others. One of the best gifts you can give someone is the gift of art, and not only because it is timeless, but because it’s supporting a good cause. That is, if you’re purchasing from an artist as opposed to a large chain retailer.
Katie Emmitt, a painter, sketch artist, and hoop maker, put it to me this way: “I personally feel it’s great to purchase from artists and individuals with small businesses (especially local!) because you know exactly where that money is going – to feed them and their family, to put a roof over their heads, and to help them with their living expenses so they can continue to create and put more beautiful artwork and handmade items into the world. As an artist, I rely a lot on the money I make selling artwork and handmade goods and I am grateful for it because it allows me to keep creating. When you go to Target or Walmart and buy a gift, you don’t know where all your money is going, or what it might be supporting. It’s always a great feeling of peace of mind to know that you’re helping someone out and getting an incredible, memorable gift out of it.”
To receive something specially crafted for you is undeniably the best gift of all. My most treasured possessions are pieces of art that were made specifically for me – a simple silver band, and (don’t laugh) a silver Bat-symbol charm my father forged for me. No one else has them, nor will they ever, and the time and thought put into creating something so unique is ultimately priceless.
When it comes to giving art as a gift, writer Lynn Bryant said, “You give and want to receive art for the same reason – because it puts a certain burden on the giver, a positive burden. It requires that they look deeply at the recipient, who they are and what their relationship is. Good art is personal. It was a personal statement by the artist who created it, and I feel it no less a personal statement between the giver and recipient. It says, ‘I know you, and I believe this will speak to you.’ The recipient will forever remember who gave the piece. How many gifts can you say that about?”
I believe that to buy from an artist is to say that you really care – that you care about your community, that you care about passion and drive, creativity, and uncovering the mysteries of life. Art speaks to us for reasons we cannot always explain, and we should pursue this curious feeling, and spread it’s bounty within our groups. As Plato said, “Art is long, life is short.” Art endures forever, and with it, the artist is immortalized. To cherish and to share in such a thing is one of the truly uniquely beautiful gifts of humanity.
View Jimi Davies’ art www.jimihaha.com
View Katie Emmitt’s art at www.kemmithoops.com or www.katieemmittart.com
View Gypsy Hollow’s art at https://www.gypsyhollow.co/
View Aaron Raybuck’s art at http://hdapparel.wixsite.com/artwork
Our Handmade Holiday Shopping guide is a one stop shop for all of your gifts! http://www.thejamwich.com/2017/11/13/jamwich-holiday-shopping-guide-2017/