Monday, April 30, 2012

Yay! First Meeting of the Ashland Arts Alliance

Y is for "Yay!" in the A to Z Challenge

There is a new group in the Ashland, Virginia area, the Ashland Arts Alliance. We are just over a week old, and have 43 plus members. We had our first "Meet and Greet" today, and 23 attended. You can find more about the Alliance at this link:

Ashland Arts Alliance

We had one of the board members from our local Main Street Association attend. This is an email I just sent to the board about the meeting:

Hi Folks,

We had our first offcial Meet and Greet for the Ashland Arts Alliance, and had 23 people attend. Not bad for a group that is only just over a week old! As I was aware of, there is some astounding talent and passion right here in the Ashland region. And I think that is an important term. "Ashland region". Just as there is a "greater Richmond" or "Richmond metro" area, there is a greater Ashland area. Many people live in areas outlying Ashland who would much rather come to Ashland than go to Richmond to network and find like minded people. If you are going to draw people to Ashland from far away, I believe you have to start by drawing those who are close. We are they.

There were a lot of great professional connections made, and people got to express their idenity, passions, and visions. I found it to be highly inspiring.

Nancy, thank you so much for coming to the event. You missed my opening introduction, but we recorded it and it will be posted to youtube, my blog, and the meetup site. Some other members may also want to have their introductions posted. Don't worry, nothing you said will be included in any posted video without your permission.

I did want to tell all of you that I was excited with Nancy's insight into the usefullness of the group. As she commented after listening to several introductions, there are talents that can be very useful to the development of downtown Ashland. People with a passion for Architectural preservation, videography, photography, display fabrication, and education. Here is the perfect arena to "stimulate the arts". Find the money to pay these people to be included in such projects as the Ashland Museum. Make them feel that they are a wanted and needed part of the growth of Ashland, and that their economic value is acknowledged and respected. Grow the seed for an arts and cultlure district by actually creating one that is made of people, not just regulations.

As self employed artists, we face the same issues of any other business owners. Finding the money to pay for our studios, equipment, and overhead. Making enough to pay for our mortgates, our healthcare, to send our kids to school and save for some type of retirement. Artists have long been seen as the go-to people to volunteer their talents and time for the needs of others. A win-win solution must be found so that artists can express their passion, and by doing what they love not only make a living wage but also help non-profits raise money and serve as the keystone to the creative economy, which is being promoted as a key element to larger economic health.


"Y" is for Yay!, and April has been Parkinson's Awareness Month

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