In Door County, WI, there are a number of artists living/working in
a fairly small but pastoral/rural area, and tourists and visitors
drive around to shop in their display spaces and scattered galleries.
In Bellingham, there are a goodly number of artists (hardly any
jewelers) who participate in an annual studio tour that is quite
popular, though I don't get the sense it contributes substantially to
the artists' income, which must be earned outside the community.
I would really like to hear from you folks about other places that
support artists in small, mostly rural communities with visitors who
shop for art.
I am sure there are many, in the beautiful spots in the US. If you
live in or have visited such a place, please tell me about it!
My friend lives in the wonderful little historic town of Murphy, NC,
nestled in the western Appalachian mountains. (It is located very
close to the world renown John C Campbell Folk Arts School in
Brasstown, NC.) They have a wonderful arts community there, with a
quaint downtown that is anchored by the Valley River Arts Guild. The
Guild has a gallery that features local artists producing everything
from clay art to jewelry and stained glass. They sponsor the Murphy
Art Walk on the first Friday May through November 5:00pm - 8:00pm.
I hope you get to visit sometime!
hi, i would like to know out of the country communities as well
If you live in or have visited such a place, please tell me about
I have visited two well-known "artist colonies" in Arizona, Sedona
and Jerome. There are also sizable groups of artists in other small
Arizona towns, such as Carefree, Tubac, Bisbee, and Ajo, as well as
individuals or small groups in many other citis and towns. My former
house in Cottonwood is now the residence of a nationally known
painter and her country singer and composer husband. Arizona seems to
attract artistic people.
I am in the unique position of having just moved full time to the
Phoenix south east valley and have gotten involved with some people
trying to repurpose a retired elementary school. We are envisioning a
lapidary school, with each classroom being set up for different
instruction venues. My wife and I have attended William Holland
school of lapidary and can envision a similar school here, in
Coolidge Az. This is a nice sleepy agricultural town in the beautiful
southern Arizona area. We are linking with others that envision
"maker houses" and such as a potential use for this building. We are
lining up potters, lapidaries, silver workers, and local native
Americans to demonstrate and teach their craft. There are empty
houses owned by the city which may be obtained for potential
instructors, who wouldn't want to spend some time during the winter
in Arizona to help promote their craft? It boggles the mind as to the
potential which may come from this.
Right down the road is the Casa Grande Ruin national park. The
ranger there says that most people that come to visit always asks
them, "what else is there to do around here?" Wouldn't it be nice to
direct them to an artisan shop to view the work of local artists with
the ability to watch them create? We have big hopes.
Heavy lifter for Designs by Suz
There are also sizable groups of artists in other small Arizona
towns, such as Carefree, Tubac, Bisbee, and Ajo, as well as
individuals or small groups in many other cities and towns.
Al, do you (or anyone else reading this) have a sense of whether 1)
people come to these artists to buy (as opposed to the artists having
to constantly travel or ship their work to galleries) and 2) to what
degree artists working in the Southwest are limited to creating
Southwest-style work, in order to meet the expectations of the
whether 1) people come to these artists to buy (as opposed to the
artists having to constantly travel or ship their work to
galleries) and 2) to what degree artists working in the Southwest
are limited to creating Southwest-style work, in order to meet the
expectations of the market?
Good questions! Places like Sedona and Jerome are well-known tourist
destinations, especially Sedona, in "Red Rock Country". The business
comes to them, from all over the world. There are shows around the
state, so many travel relatively short distances for those. I really
don't know about markets in lesser known areas. The artist who
bought my house (Nikki Wilden) sells both locally and on the
internet, as well as some commissioned work (a portrait of John Wayne
hanging in the ranch house he lived in, for example.)
I don't know whether artists feel constrained, but the fact is that
much of the work is indeed Southwest-style and Native American.
Tom, that sounds like a really exciting and useful idea! Are you
envisioning a purely educational facility or are your considering
renting studio space to local artisans as well? I don't have a
prayer of getting to Arizona unless I hit the lottery, but I have
been looking (so far in vain) for affordable studio space in my
area. I live in the NYC area, so you can imagine the prices. I wish
you the best of luck and would be interested in more details of how
you progress, if you'd care to share.
Hello Tom... I was part of a group of craftspeople in St. Augustine
Florida in the early 70's. There were jewellers, potter's,
glassblowers, leather garment makers, blacksmiths, woodworkers, etc.
The American craft council had workshops in some of our studios. It
was a great time... at night we would switch studios and learn about
other mediums. Unfortunately there was a gasoline crisis and people
stopped traveling to visit and buy our work. Many craftspeople moved
on to try their luck in other places. larger cities seemed to be the
best gamble for making and selling. I moved to key west, Florida for
a few years. I have often wondered if there are still communities of
craftsmen. The current state of the economy has forced many people
to ponder the reality of continuing making things. The middle class
were the majority of buyers but that group has either gone up or gone
down economically. The latter seems to be the reality. I Don't think
I could ever stop making because of the economy but would love to
again live in a community of craftsmen and have that support
I am in the unique position of having just moved full time to the
Phoenix south east valley and have gotten involved with some
people > trying torepurpose a retired elementary school.
How exciting, Tom! Lovely idea in a lovely area. There's something
special about living/working in close proximity with others of like
mind and talent. My brother stayed in the Tucson for many years
after getting out of the army, and always loved the area.
Regrettably, I never had the opportunity to visit while hewas there,
but recall his great affection for the Sonoran Desert.
Best of luck to you and your compadres!
Linda in central FL
I used to see an ad in a magazine, inviting artists and craftspeople
to move to their community. Incentives -- though I dont remember what
kind -- were offered. Which community? Good question; Cumberland,
Maryland, comes to mind, though I'm not sure why. The city/town was
east-coasty, or maybe mid-Atlantic. Was the magazine the Mother Earth
News? The New Yorker? Not sure. Could it have been southern? Southern
trending like Kentucky or maybe West Virginia. It's driving me crazy.
Anyway, in my attempt to find this particular place, I found this
article which might be interesting:
Christine, in Littleton MA where the sky today was cerulean.
As I was falling asleep last night, I remembered the name of the
community advertised for artists to relocate: Paducah, Kentucky.
They still have the program going, info here:
Might be fun to visit Paducah and see what it's like.
Christine, in Littleton MA
I believe it was Padukah, Kentucky. It was called the Artist
Relocation Program, and I always thought that sounded as though they
would dart us, blindfold us and let us go in an unfamiliar landscape,
I looked into it, years ago, but when I saw how far it was to the
nearest real airport, I lost interest. My criteria are different now,
which is why I'm asking around.
I used to see an ad in a magazine, inviting artists and
craftspeople to move to their community. Incentives -- though I
dont remember what kind -- were offered.
Paducah, Kentucky, housing discounts.
Noel, thank you for giving me the greatest visual of the week. I am
heading upstairs laughing now.
The ads soliciting artisans might have been for Oil City, PA
Salida Colorado is a town of 5000 at the headwaters of the Arkansas.
It has a long history of involvement with the arts. 2014 will be the
22 year of the Artwalk. When I chaired it 2 years ago, we had more
than 200 artists exhibiting in more than 50 venues. We drew people to
the area from a dozen states. There are several performing arts
groups, painters, musicians, metalworkers, jewelers, a circus, fiber
artists. The town was the first named as a Cultural Center in
Colorado in 2012. In the summer, the famous Aspen Art Series comes
over the pass to Salida and performs in the Steam Plant - a facility
rescued by prominent citizens thirty some years ago. It was the steam
generating plant for the town in the early 1900s and now has a
theater, sculpture garden and 2 galleries as part of the facility.
The Denver Symphony performed 4 times last year in Salida. The town
also has 4 breweries, a distillery and an active community of home
I became aware of Salida 17 years ago when the Colorado
Metalsmithing Association (CoMA) held their first conference at the
Steam Plant. The conference has been held in Salida ever since. While
Colorado is a small population state, and CoMA isn't a huge
organization -, the conference draws attendees from all over the
world, probably because the presenters are world class. We have had
Michael Zobel, Bernd Munsteiner, Albert Paley, Harold O'Connor, Tom
Herman, Michael Good....
What is interesting is that many of the presenters come back year
after year. They really like the town, its energy. It is a terrific
arts community, as well as rafting, cycling, skiing, hiking. Michael
Boyd started the Culture Clash gallery in Salida - and it is still
Go see for yourself what the place is about.
Cumberland was one another more recently was Hannabel Missouri. I
know several artists who moved there. Dave
Talk to Julie Shaw who did relocate to Paducah when great mortgage
rates for artists were first being offered. She is still living
If you contact her, say 'hi' for me.