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British Institution, Pall Mall, from Ackermann's

British Institution, Pall Mall

It may come as no surprise, I have a penchant for the Arts and Humanities. I adore beautiful things. I am a firm believer beauty demands a response. For example, if I were to dress up as a Gangsta, people would treat me differently than if I were dressed in historical costume. It showcases to the world how you want to be treated. It elevates the demand of a certain respect. Respecting a Gangster may be quite different than respecting a Lady. Also, Beauty is meant to be shared. If something is loved and lovely, it ought to be viewed. I do not mean objectified, but admired, but who is to say how the viewer responds?

With this in mind, I am embarking on community partnerships with my library. Incorporating the City’s Fine Art Association, the Historic Main Street  organization, a slew of local artists including high school students, the co-owner of an Art store and an owner of vacant properties near the Old Town area. I am outsourcing library promotion. I call it “Artist Outsourcing Advertisements,” It is not a terribly creative moniker, I am afraid, but it will have to do. In short, I am asking the owner of vacant stores to allow us to paint and/or display promotions for library programs.

In professional literature it always instructs us to remember the “non-user.” How do we put the library in the minds of non-library users? This is program is my first attempt. When I say “promotions” I do not merely mean a flyer taped to the window. I mean a store front window displays worthy of Selfridges! (For the record, I take notes during the show) Depending on the owner and our allowance, the local artists may paint elaborate scenes to entice people to visit the library. Or if we are persuasive, we may do a full-on three dimensional display, complete with background, mid-ground, and foreground of mix media. Placing such art in Old Town, heavy with foot traffic, will at least cause for a pause. Pedestrians might think it is a new shop moving into the vacant location. Upon inspection, they shall find it is rather the contrary, it is for the library. A library that is not located near Old Town. . . perhaps their curiosity will be piqued and they might wish to discover the origin of such lavishness. Or they might just admire the art before them; either response is welcomed. Better yet, should passers by so love the display they take a photograph with their telephone cameras and share it with friends or post it on their social networks. . .Circulation and discussion. Once they realize it is monthly reveal, anticipation might creep in. Then we would have “created a following.” It is what every artist secretly desires.

All artists and building owners shall be recognized. The monthly displays fashioned by a group of intergenerational artists working side by side over continuous periods of time to create these scenes. Ideally, after the month, the store owner across the way will sell the pieces for those who wish to purchase a part of decorative history. This final bit has not been settled yet, however. What does this mean? Everybody wins! Students will meet more professional artists and work side by side with them, organically learning and mentoring. The artists’ works will be noticed by the public at large, creating interest in the pieces. The artists might be able to make a profit from these works, as well as the store owner. The building owner will have his store be the center of a movement and perhaps some interested party will purchase the vacant structure. Old Town receives a new attraction. If I am lofty, it might inspire civic pride like Macy’s department store Christmas windows. As for the library? We would have reached a new demographic and served a larger population.

Stay tuned for the August reveal of the library windows. Photographs to be included, of course.