Don’t believe everything you hear

The rumors have been flying.  Ever since we opened The Bank & Trust Show at ArtsWestchester…ever since we put that work of art in the window, the phone has been ringing off the hook. “Is ArtsWestchester closing?”  “Are you guys going out of business?”

Well, first let me reassure everyone that ArtsWestchester is 45 years old and here to stay. The artwork creating such a stir is a hot pink hand-drawn sign proclaiming “Selling Out to the Bare Walls” by artist Kim Beck (www.idealcities.com and www.artbusiness.com/osoquspeccoll.html) — one of a series of signs meant to mimic those on store windows in an “iffy” business climate.  The work is rendered in charcoal and pastel, and announces an amazing, momentous, but also catastrophic, clearance event. Beck’s work, along with the work of 20 other artists takes the pulse of contemporary commerce at a critical moment in the 21st century and provides a snapshot of the range of emotional and intellectual responses we have all had to the economic crisis our county faced in recent years. In other words, “It’s the economy @?&$#!”

We thought that putting the work in the window would beckon the curious to enter the gallery to see what’s going on. And it did.  Once inside the door, we hoped people would stay and tour the exhibit. And many did.  Some even purchased the economic Dough-Yos and Po-Yos for sale by artists Nora Ligorano and Marshall Reese. Others stopped to whine and opine about the economy.  And after all, that’s what art is supposed to do, create dialogue, right? What we didn’t count on is that the sign could be seen from cars and buses fueling the speculation from afar that ArtsWestchester may be closing.  And so the phone has been ringing off the hook. One of our employees in fact got on a bus homeward and the bus driver commiserated that she would soon be losing her job.  What we learned from this experience is the power of words, particularly the word “sale.”  Hard to resist one.  We also have a new appreciation for our corner at Mamaroneck and Martine Avenues, where dozens of buses pass each day. We have learned that when you start a conversation, there’s no telling where it goes. So much for buzz.

(For an interesting read on art and the economy, check out: www.artbusiness.com/osoquspeccoll.html.)

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