Sunday, May 01, 2022

a city that artists built

Back in the 1980’s in Eureka Springs, local artists Louis Freund and Don Kennett regularly attended Eureka Springs Chamber of Commerce meetings, attempting to give voice to the artists of our community in the shaping of our local economy. Their point was that the arts might become recognized as the driving force for a more prosperous future. Their vision fell upon rather stony ground, while in the meantime, Eureka Springs artists, selling their wares at craft shows throughout the US and in galleries downtown were busily promoting an understanding in the world at large that we are first and foremost, an arts community. 

We do, after-all, have far more professional artists and serious non-professional artists per capita than almost any other small town in America. And even from the earliest days of Eureka Springs, that has been the case. Artists were originally drawn here by the beauty of this place, and were compelled to linger by the support and encouragement we’ve been able to provide each other. During harder times, it was noted that friends will get you through times of no money better than money will get you through times of no friends. 

Alice Walton has told how her visits to Eureka Springs galleries with her mother were an inspiration guiding her vision of what Northwest Arkansas would become. And so, while they’re busily building a community of the arts next door, is it not time that we all fully acknowledge who and what we are? 

We are a “city that water built” but we are equally and at the very same time, a city built by the arts and by artists. As we watch what Alice Walton and members of her family are doing, and as it was influenced by what Eureka Springs galleries and artists had done, let’s now take a lesson from her and them (but also from ourselves at the same time). 

 This being May 1, and the launch of yet another May Fine Arts Festival in Eureka Springs, let’s all contemplate the many ways that we can infuse the arts in our lives year round. I urge the Chamber and the CAPC as well as each and every business in the city to invest more time and dollars in the promotion of the arts and in the artists who call this place home.

Make, fix and create...

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