Happy American Craft Week!

a cheerful pin to celebrate craft week

October 1-10 is American Craft Week so I thought I would let you in on the importance of art and craft to my little corner of the world, Western North Carolina.  Of course, if you live here you already know that you can’t walk down the street without running into an artist of one sort or another but did you know that a study conducted in 2007 found that the economic impact of art and craft in WNC was over 206 million dollars?  That’s a lot of cash.  Art and craft are a putting food on the table and paying the bills in homes all across the country, even in homes where there are no artists.  The arts attract tourists to our area and tourism is big business here in the mountains.  Galleries represent hundreds of artists, 70% of them local, and not all of the galleries are located in the cities.  Many small towns have very successful galleries which provide an economic anchor for the town.  We also have the greatest concentration of craft education in the country with an economic impact of nearly 12 million dollars per year.   It is also crucial, and I mean SERIOUSLY IMPORTANT, to support the politicians in your area who are supporting the arts.  If you don’t know who they are ask your local or state arts council.  In our area we have been fortunate to have Joe Sam Queen in our corner but he is in danger of losing if we don’t get behind him right now.  You need to go out and support these candidates.  Share the message that jobs are being generated by the arts everywhere, not just in North Carolina.  There are groups out there actively campaigning against those who are supporting the arts by suggesting that arts funding is a waste of money.  If we don’t tell them the facts we will lose our support in the government and arts funding is the fertilizer that allows the arts to grow.  Vote.

That said, money isn’t everything.  The arts create a better quality of life.  Young people exposed to the arts become creative thinkers and creative thinking spurs industry and technology.  Artists are known for saving neighborhoods, sometimes entire towns, from ruin and I have seen the effects of the arts in my own small town.

I hope that you will take some time this week and look around at craft in your own town, go to a gallery or a studio and see what’s out there.  Encourage your friends and family to buy handmade instead of cheap imports at big box stores or overpriced, mass produced department store imports.  The time is now to begin consuming with intent.  Let it be an experience instead of just an acquisition.   The next time you need a gift start with going to a gallery or an artist’s studio and learn how the object is made and what the artist is like.  Absorb the beauty of the gallery or the energy of the studio and you will have more than an object, you will have a story.

Check the arts calendar in your area for special events celebrating American Craft Week or go the American Craft Week website.   Join the celebration.

~ by debkarash on October 2, 2010.

2 Responses to “Happy American Craft Week!”

  1. I am so lucky I have a pin almost exactly like that, the center of mine is black and white, and I LOVE IT! I got it from you when you taught at the Mendocino Art Center and I treasure this daisy I have from you and the knowledge you passed on to me in that week long class. I just found you here because a friend is passing around a note on facebook about the artists that have inspired us and you are on my list. Then I saw the flower and I had to come and gush. Don’t get scared. Ha!

    Wanted to tell you that I am still a working artist (& a friend at Crafthaus) and I also support the arts as much as I can and will continue to do so.

    Keep making these beauties Deb! You are one of a kind.

    • Thanks, Catherine. I’m happy to hear that you are still making work and still enjoying your daisy pin. I really enjoyed my week in Mendocino. It was one of the first workshops that I ever taught.

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