Appreciating art and collaboration

As Nicole Welk looks back on her past columns, she thanks the starving artists, art buyers and musicians who inspire her to share her thoughts.

Art prevails over the stress of finals week. The Spring 2010 semester is slowly coming to a close, and finals are creeping up on us. Increased pressures, procrastinations and time constraints are undoubtedly going to stress us out. I’m even stresssed out about what to focus my final column on, but I have a few ideas.

nicole welk

The Tyler School of Art and Boyer College of Music have become more active than ever at the end of this semester. Every time I walk into the Tyler building, I hear jazz musicians play in front of the paintings and sculptures created by the art students.

The schools recently had a joint exhibition, with compositions created by some of the music students paralleling works by some of the art students. Last Thursday they held a Tyler-wide art opening featuring some of the very best student art. As I see all of these great events come into fruition, I can’t help but look back over my past columns and remind myself why I wanted to write about art.

What was it that I was interested in that would make you want to read my writing? Is “The Starving Artist” meant solely for entertainment to those who understand art, or for education to those who are just starting to appreciate it?

Two weeks ago, the annual Philadelphia Antiques Show came to the Navy Yard, and I worked in a booth showcasing a gallery specialized in American Indian, Oceanic and African art. I experienced the hors d’oeuvres, the suits and dresses – the overall environment of art as a luxury for the wealthy.

As I sat in the gallery space I was working with, I wondered if I would write my last column on this dynamic of the art world – the people who fund the artists of today and yesterday. I thought about it and even took notes on how couples would come up to the gallery space and inspect the art with their credit cards or check books in hand. It was different from the college atmosphere I was used to, but opened my mind to a necessary area in the art world – the appreciators, the investors and funders of the artists.

I opened up my laptop after that weekend and stared at the screen for a few minutes, trying to start this interesting column on appreciating the spectators and funders of great art and the importance of artists going to events like art fairs to network with these “slightly more advantaged” people. I started it, and then stopped. I read it over, and then deleted a few sentences. It was an interesting subject, an important subject. Why couldn’t I write my last column on this?

My frustrations led me back to the image of Tyler and Boyer collaborating with one another in the Tyler lobby. It made me think about the columns I wrote about coffee shops being great stepping stones for up-and-coming artists, about appreciating ancient art and art teachers and my reviews on various art exhibits and special events.

Though my original idea was to write about the antiques show, as “The Starving Artist,” I felt it only right to dedicate my last column of the year to all starving artists. So, in a way I’d like to make this column untraditional, short and sweet.

Here’s to you great artists: musicians, actors, filmmakers, painters, sculptors and craftsmen alike. You not only inspired my column over these months – but you fuel my future career goals.
To those who are not necessarily artists: Thank you for supporting them the slightest bit by reading this column. In comparison to the generous folks I have met at art gallery openings and events like the antiques show – I feel you are just as important, if not more important, as supporters of creativity.

This summer, enjoy whatever creative events you can find. Keep creating if you feel the inspiration, and keep reading and learning about art when you feel the passion I know I have every week I write this column. Happy end of the semester, everyone.

Nicole Welk can be reached at nicole.welk@temple.edu.

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