When I toured the picopolitan small town of Rosalia, Washington, I met a painter who had a big corner building downtown. She said that she had moved to town anticipating that an arts scene would develop, and then she could be part of it. Since the arts scene hadn’t really developed, she felt fairly lonely as an artist.
She doesn’t have to wait for someone else to start that arts scene. She can start it herself.
Just up the block from her studio, there is a small art gallery. She could partner with them, and together they could hold a small arts show. They could invite other artists from the nearby small towns and rural areas to exhibit on the sidewalks between her studio and their gallery just on some weekend afternoon. That might be the start of an arts festival that would encourage more local artists.
They could talk to the artists to gather some positive stories to share online and with the media.
Then to build on that, they could work their networks with other artists and artisans they’ve met through shows and events to invite them for another weekend show. They could look online for local people already selling art, just without a downtown presence. They might search Etsy, Handmade by Amazon, eBay, Shopify, Cafe Press, Deviant Art or Society6, and invite the local artists they uncover.
They could reach out to online writers and creators to share their events and some of the amazing art and artists. In each story, they could talk about their growing arts scene.
Then another time, they could talk to area real estate agents and find out about available spaces that might work for new galleries, studios or workshops. It would be great to have those spaces clean and ready for visiting artists and arts lovers to tour during any of their events.
It would be a slow process to build your own arts scene that way, building one small step at a time. But it might be more fun than simply hoping.
What kind of scene are you trying to build, and what small step could you take now? If you can’t think of a small step to get started, hit reply and let’s come up with one together.
Keep shaping the future of your town,
PS – Get even more ideas for building your community with local artisans in our video Crafters Create Prosperity.