Now to the second part: Going Local.
I’m a big fan of local music and art. I enjoy actually meeting the people responsible for making something. Like Jack Jennings who is a local metallurgist who made my wedding ring. Sara and I bought this great vegetable bin from a local man who had just had a stroke but we did get to talk to his daughter. Not to mention friends of ours will often give us some form of photography or painting for Christmas each year. These things mean more to me and always will. They have a story and a history attached to them.
Kind of in the same vein as my personal “stuff”, I started looking close by for things to do and see that were free or inexpensive (which was about all we could afford). My wife and I have started going on local trails for running/hiking and biking rather than getting gym memberships. We found ourselves making day trips to the mountains, going to local music and arts festivals, and almost making a game of finding the next free thing to do for entertainment. And we certainly become more spontaneous. At least a few times, we would find out about an event happening the same or next day and make an impromptu trip. The best thing was that I was discovering that so much of this stuff was done right here in my own county. We found a nice little coffee house in our hometown that shows some local art and has local musicians playing there every weekend. Reidsville, the closest city to us, even opened up a new farmers market that also has a stage for larger musical groups. Since opening, they’ve hosted a local art sale, and featured local musicians. My wife and I even got to play there once for an outdoor dinner party.
And in return, I feel like our musical group was on the receiving end of some of this “going local” mentality. I won’t say that we were inundated with gigs, but I certainly did not see a decline and, during some parts of the year, an increase in performances. I think many people were thinking the same with booking us as local musicians with our lower prices and close proximity.
I think arts should be supported at all levels as each have something to offer, but I think that when times are good and bad, local artists provide great experiences at usually a lower cost. And you’re helping foster the local art community and economy.
I’m sure you have your own stories and experiences, but I always try to look on the positive side of things. These experiences give us an opportunity to take stock of what we have and appreciate the things and people around us.