Council takes art to communityLife without artists, whether visual, literary, theatrical or musical, would be pretty dull.
By: Merilee Reinke, The Daily Telegram
Life without artists, whether visual, literary, theatrical or musical, would be pretty dull.
Without them we would never have Leonardo da Vinci’s “Last Supper.” There would be silence instead of Led Zeppelin’s “Stairway to Heaven.” No one would have felt the intense emotions of Tennessee Williams’ “A Streetcar Named Desire” or John Steinbeck’s “Grapes of Wrath.”
Artists speak for us. They make us smile or cry. They push us to think in new ways, let us escape our ho-hum lives — and even if only for a moment — make a connection with something bigger than ourselves.
Understanding this, the North End Arts Council is hoping to make a connection with the community when it hosts a meeting next week to talk about what local artists are doing, and how those who think “I can’t” can be a part of it.
Headquartered in Old City Hall — a growing hub of art exhibits, musical performances and other artistic events — the North End Arts Council is joining Arts Wisconsin and the Wisconsin Arts Board to reach out to anyone interested in the health and well-being of the community. That means the entire community — business owners, educators, elected officials, working professionals, youth and everyone in between.
A lot is going on artistically in the area, but much of it is below the radar, said Karin Kraemer, owner of Duluth Pottery-Superior Division.
“We want to get folks together,” she said. “We want to grow awareness within our own community. Art is for everyone, all the time. We want to be a place for people to come and be a part of the art community.”
At the meeting, which is to be informal, art council members highlight what is going on in the Twin Ports, how the arts attract and retain business and art funding opportunities. Artists are also asking for community input on how the arts can serve the area better.
“Art is really important ... it is a reflection of all of us,” Kraemer said. “What we watch, what we read — an artist did that. It’s a big form of communication of us all.”
The arts are more than paintings, plays and poetry readings. The arts, said Anne Katz, Arts Wisconsin director, include church and school choirs, quilters and woodworkers, to just name a few. And while they may not see themselves as artists, she said, they are part of the arts community all the same.
Katz said everyone should be interested in the arts, if for nothing else then money it brings to a town. The arts bring people in who then stay at hotels, eat at restaurants or hit the local gas station. For example, said Katz, the construction of Lucius Woods Performing Arts Center is an economic development project that attracts thousands to Solon Springs.
“Even for those who don’t go to Lucius Woods, they still benefit,” she said.
According to the Wisconsin Arts Board, in 2005 the state’s nonprofit art industry generated $27.4 million in local government revenue, $34.4 million in state government revenue and supplied 15,103 full-time jobs.
Stop by the old Old City Hall on Tuesday and find out how the arts can work for you.
Katz has some advice for those of you who cannot attend the meeting. “Get way from the TV. Go to the theater, see a performance,” she said. “There are a million ways for people to be involved.”
Merilee Reinke covers arts and entertainment. E-mail email@example.com or call (715) 395-5026.