Sunday, March 1, 2009

Interesting Trends

I've hit on this topic some previously, but current economic trends continue to be hard on everyone and are especially hard on the arts. A lot of funding has been cut and a lot of artists simply aren't selling near enough to get by. As a result, artists and art venues are being forced to find creative solutions to economic pressures and hardships.

But something is occurring that I'd never expected - I am beginning to notice what seems to be a growing trend towards even more conceptual art. I am uncertain if the trend is necessarily all that strong or if I just happen to be more acutely aware of it from being involved in as much as I am, but it seems that a lot of venues that had focused on more commercial and traditional arts are taking a lot more chances in what they are exhibiting. Some commercial establishments are setting aside space for artists to explore ideas that are not as salable while other venues are seeking to bring in a new and diverse range of expression that hadn't previously been seen there.

I guess this sort of makes sense because so many people with property and land are having a hard time renting or leasing it out with so many businesses having to cut back. Many of those propertyowners are trying to help support the art and artists in the interim (while their abilities to lease their properties are down) as a means of promoting culture in the areas in which they have assets and in order to allow more people in to see their properties since art viewers could be interested in leasing later on or may be looking for office space. So more inexpensive venues in which artists can display their work or house their studios, both on a short term and long term basis, are becoming available.

However, I had thought that with so many artists and existing art establishments facing such difficulties selling that many commercial galleries would become even more money-driven in order to focus even more on selling to make up for tightening budgets. I had feared with so many budget cuts and government funding gone that even more conceptual institutions would be hard-pressed to show as conceptual, edgy and provocative of works in order to try to encourage more patronage to help offset the loss of grant monies. However, it seems that many are going the opposite route, trying to stick it out while bulding up a larger and broader base of people who are interested in attending their shows.

I am pleasantly surprised, in the face of hard times, that many artists and arts institutions are seeking creative alternatives and are promoting an even more diverse range of artworks. It just goes to show that many people are trying to make the best of the situation by trying new and diffeent things, broadening their horizons, encouraging thought and taking creative approaches. I am intrigued to see where this will lead us in the long run.

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