Our local newspaper ran a story today, appropriate for this time of year, about the unique businesses in our downtown area. They ranged from a peanut shop to a religious artifacts store with some really cool galleries in between. But the thing I noticed immediately was the absence of any mention of the shops/galleries/studios located in the Northside District that obviously includes us plus the Glassworks plus the Red Light studios.
At first I felt slighted but then, as with what usually happens with a story like this, it gave me pause for thought. I started thinking about why we settled where we did and, in fact, it was probably that very reason we were overlooked by the writer of the story. The fact is, this is a very special area and people do have to seek us out in order find us and that's what makes coming into our studio/gallery a great find. I mean, we've been here 18 years and somehow people have managed to find us amid all the other commercial clutter. I like the people that still have a sense of adventure and inquisitiveness about things and the intuitiveness to keep looking for that special find because it makes them feel unique. We're not on Main street or in a strip mall, we're tucked away where, well, not everyone can find us.
I remember being in San Francisco and while walking, unknownly taking a wrong turn down a dimly lit alley and coming upon a small basement restaurant in Chinatown. To this day, the meal and experience of discovery that I enjoyed that night is in the top three of my life ... and that was 30 years ago! That's how I want people to feel when they walk down our "nicely lit" alley and experience the gallery that awaits them behind those old brick walls.
Most of the people in our building and neighborhood are some of the hardest working people I know and refuse to give up or give in to modernity. A few artists will come and go but most are here for the long haul. Yeah, I might feel a little overlooked sometimes but for the most part I'm glad to be under the radar a bit and off the beaten path. Because, when a person walks through our door and looks at our work and enjoys the experience, I know they'll keep coming back.