Tuesday, January 22, 2008

I managed to get the first chapter of my new book sent off to the publisher today, thanks to the ice that closed school, giving me a chance to spend extra time on the laptop.

I live in a unique city. If you think about the threads laid out on the loom, the warp, goes one way and the woof or weft goes the other. Those of us who arrived in Eureka Springs since the 1970's are the woof. What we found when we arrived here was the loom carefully laid with a strong legacy of the arts by regionally and nationally known artists like Louis and Elsa Freund, Glen Gant, and others who embraced and nourished those of us who fell in love with this community and came to do art. Now, of course, every new artist who arrives, being as artists are, carry the exaggerated sense of self that seems to be required to survive. And so we and our work become woven in. It seems the weft is the part that gives color, while the warp gives strength. Becoming parts of a tapestry, diverse, full of attention and growth, we take turns at center stage. The loom, carefully laid with strong thread may not be known by some or seen by all, but it is there, holding us together as a community of the arts.

Today and this evening Eureka Springs artists and business community played host to visitors from Crystal Bridges Museum which will be opening in Northwest Arkansas in 2010. This morning we opened the day's events with a showing at ESSA of work by Louis and Elsa Freund, and work by our children. This evening, many of the local artists participated in a reception and showing of their work. The most wonderful thing in listening to the various speakers is that our local business community has become awakened to the value of the arts. It seems that things come in their own time. Years ago, and year after year and week after week Louis Freund attended the meetings of the Chamber of Commerce and described to those in attendance the incredible value of the arts and artists, their potential and promise as an economic and cultural resource for our city. Suddenly all seem to be awakened by the development of multi-million dollar Crystal Bridges less than an hour away.

It was a great pleasure to spend part of my day in the company of staff from Crystal Bridges, to remind and be reminded of those who laid the warp, and to see the gathering of woof, diverse, colorful and strong. The photos above and below are of an old friend Jim Nelson and his new work that I have been privileged to encourage and watch develop. It is made of wood.

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