Madison's newspaper, the Cap Times, published my letter to the editor, encouraging the patronage of local arts by businesses and individuals. A link to the article is here.
Otherwise, see below:
Dear Editor: I'm writing in response to Lindsay Christian's insightful article "The Art of the Sale." I believe that although in general Madison is a difficult place to sell artwork, it has a lot of potential to be a place where art and artists can thrive.
Madison places a lot of emphasis on buying local, and this is very evident in both restaurants' and the public's enthusiasm for buying locally sourced food and regional microbrews. People and restaurants are more than willing to pay extra money to have food or beer that is of a higher quality, made locally, and that supports a fair wage.
I would love to see that same enthusiasm among restaurants, hotels, and the public for purchasing local artwork, furniture, and ceramics. Just as it is unacceptable now for a restaurant to serve only, say, Miller Lite and Bud Light on tap, I would love to see that same public pressure against furniture from Scandinavia and walls adorned with mirrors.
The interest in locally sourced food results in a robust, profitable farming community, some of the best beers in the nation, food with a unique local flavor, and a public that is knowledgeable and enthusiastic about the products they're purchasing and the people they're supporting.
If businesses prioritized local artwork the way that they do local food, the ambiance in their establishments would reflect the unique style of our community, the public would recognize and appreciate the artwork they see everywhere, and this could be a catalyst for conversations and sales by an informed, appreciative public that respects and patronizes its newly robust, vibrant, artistic community. Not to mention create a more beautiful, interesting city. If we can set these standards for food and for beer, then I believe we can do it for the arts.