From Wichita Peace and Freedom Party Examiner;
Last weekend business consultant Jill D. Miller wrote in The Wichita Eagle that Wichita is a city ripe for artists to succeed. That’s not surprising considering that she is a business consultant, since Wichita is big on commercial art. Ads and promotions for businesses saturate the landscape in this city.
She said a person needs to be creative, but how true is that for the non-commercial or non-conformist artist in this area?
The truth is that this city has never been very supportive of artists and most that do succeed at it move away. An example of that is Tom Otterness, whose art can be seen at both Wichita State University and at the Wichita Art Museum. He has been very successful, but he also moved to New York City where he can make real money. Many fine artists have been raised here in Wichita, but most move away if they want real success.
His sculpture series Dreamers Awake is on display the Wichita Art Museum and it is satirical of present day society. Some people have even complained about it. One of the most ridiculous complaints came from people who objected to a large statue of a woman carrying a sickle. They accused it of resembling communism.
Miller said it is possible to make a living as an artist in Wichita, but the artist may not become a millionaire doing it. It also may not turn out what people expect to be doing.
Actually I’ve known few artists, musicians and especially free lance writers (of which I am one) who make more than supplemental income here in this city.
She also said that an artist needs to be creative. For the local Wichita market that is not good advice. At most art fairs and shows in this town, there are a few creative artists, but mostly people sell pictures of wheat fields, old barns and animals in the woods. The creative art is harder to sell.
The Wichita Eagle mentioned that Miller helped develop the business plans for the successful Donut Whole and the Bluebird Arthouse in Delano. But the Donut is mainly just a coffee shop and not a major hub for artists. The Bluebird is mostly an art supply store.
Miller described an artist who was successful at as a business person. As she pointed out in
The Wichita Eagle:
“Ian Walker Stewart, 35, a graphic designer whose found-art collages have garnered him several shows in recent years, says the key is having a craft that can be monetized. That craft, he said, should become part of your art.”
He added that the artist should include the concept of capitalism and it has to be part of the art.
What does this say for the Andy Warhols or the Dadaists style of artist who try to knock down the old stereo types and open up the door here in Wichita? Well—that’s obviously not going to happen here. This is not a town for non-conventional artists and those who do have such talent move away.