Friday, September 12, 2014

Support Your Local Artists???

I recently attended NYNow (Formerly known as the International Gift Fair). While walking the aisles in an area called “Artisan Resource” I had some thoughts that I wanted to share.

This section of the show was created specifically for “overseas enterprises, to showcase their products.  It was brimming with wonderful handmade creations; weavings, jewelry, baskets, hand dyed scarves and other textiles, wood carvings, ornaments and pottery. They came from all over the world; Laos, Cambodia, Philippines, Peru, Palestine, El Salvador, Colombia, India, Ghana, Brazil, Afghanistan....and on and on.

The story is told in posters and photos displayed in each booth: Women in small villages; their only way of making a living is by producing their specialty; the skills to make their products are passed down through generations, etc.

The story is fairly consistent for each of these locales and we are encouraged to support these small communities. They are remote, poverty-stricken, needy.  Our support gives them hope, encouragement, a road to a better life.

What a great idea! After all, Americans are voracious consumers of goods. Why not purchase for a worthy cause?

Here's where these thoughts entered my mind: What about AMERICA? American Artists, American Craftsmen, American Artisans.  Soooo many talented people living in communities all across our nation, from the big metropolis to the rural locale off the beaten path. From the left coast to the right coast, and in the “flyover” country in between, this country is blessed with incredible, gifted individuals who derive their living from their chosen medium/craft.

It is an understatement to say it is a struggle, a challenge, a real fight to stay afloat financially for most American “Creatives”. There is no enterprise that specifically encourages us to support our “local” talent.

So, I say, begin your “good-cause consuming” at home. Sustain lives, families, communities in your own neighborhoods FIRST! Get out there and find unbelievably creative and original treasures made by AMERICANS. Find them at local and regional shows, exhibits and fairs. Find them online. (ETSY is a good place to begin)

Purchase! Share your finds with others. Spread the word. Support those in the USA doing what they love; creating with love; hoping to just get by and maybe build a tiny nest egg. Most have no retirement plan, no health care, no guaranteed paycheck.

Yes, it is a chosen profession, but shouldn't we all be doing what we love as our chosen profession? And shouldn't we be compensated for the blood, sweat and tears it takes to create our “products”?

I say, emphatically, YES! YES, to America First! YES, to helping someone realize their hopes and dreams! YES, to showing every single, talented “Creative” that they live in the greatest country in the world, where a vision and hard work can transform our lives. Where we can use our God-given abilities to create something wonderful, share it with the world, and earn a decent living doing it.


Creatively Yours

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