As I was doing some marketing work for my upcoming participation in the South Pasadena Arts Crawl on Saturday, I was looking at the Book'em Mysteries website and saw this (click on image for larger view):
Do you see that? I'm a "local artist"!!!
One of my 41 for 41 goals was to "become a part of the South Pasadena art community." There are so many layers to this mission that sometimes my head spins. It's also something that is hard to quantify. Do I consider the mission accomplished when I participate in the Arts Crawl? When the corner coffee shop displays my work for a month? When I have my first solo show at one of South Pas' super cool galleries? When I walk down the street and see people pointing and whispering to one another, "There she is!"?
I can't explain to you the feeling that came over me when I saw those two words on the website: local artist. With some simple strokes on a keyboard, I went from being an obscure resident of South Pasadena to a FIGURE in the community. I play a role now, much like a "firefighter" or "business owner" or "librarian" play a role in making up the various facets of the place one calls "my neighborhood." Granted, I'm not saving anyone's house from burning to the ground but who wants to call a place "home" that is devoid of art?
Being a local artist is just one step toward becoming a part of the South Pasadena art community. But it's not enough for me to check it off the list. The songwriter/singer/producer Joe Henry lives in South Pasadena. His recent album, Reverie (which is out of this world!), was recorded at his home, windows open, with all that makes up the sound of South Pas incorporated into his mix. Yeah, he's definitely a local artist but is he a part of the art community (the bigger question is does he WANT to be...he certainly has no obligation to)?
Emmett and I attended last October's South Pas Arts Crawl, where, among many other places, we checked out the DeMilo Design Studio and Letterpress and talked to owner and artist Annika Buxman about her work (as documented in Sunday's Valley Sun newspaper photo above). It's where we discovered that Fiore Market Cafe has vegan items on their menu (and is now our new favorite lunch spot!). It's where I bought a watercolor that touched my heart and two handmade stuffed creatures for my new niece...both from "local artists." We participate in the Arts Crawl because we'd much rather spend time wandering through the amazing Native American art and jewelry gallery at Santa Fe Crafts on Mission Street than have a 99-cent store in its place. Because I was more inspired by the Tiny Stampede exhibit at the Space Art Center than I ever can be sitting at a Starbucks surfing the web. And because I'd much rather take in a show at the Fremont Centre Theatre than make the traffic-nightmare trek over to the West Side for live entertainment.
I put joining the art community on my list because not only do I want to be known as a local artist, but because I want to be part of a LARGER GROUP that works to foster and celebrate an active art culture in the neighborhood. Perhaps that goal is lofty but I'm willing to take a stab at it nonetheless. What have I got to lose?