San Angelo is in a Renaissance
I dare say it and with conviction, San Angelo is in it's renaissance. I've lived in San Angelo now for going on nine years. When I first moved here there we some notable art venues doing everything they could to establish San Angelo as an artist town. The museum led by Howard Taylor and his staff, the Chicken Farm Art Center by the late Roger Allen, Rod Bridgman at Sealy Flats, the Kendall Art Club our local non-profit art group, and Raul Ruiz Art Gallery were on my radar. In addition there was also the Stribling Art Show which attracted the most local art I've ever seen in one place. Yet even with those anchors to the city the city itself was missing something. It was missing the mark needed to really have other Texas towns looking at it as an artist community.
Fast forward to today and we not only have those aforementioned art organizations but more galleries and artist studios have opened since along with the amazing public art projects by Art in Uncommon Places. In addition we also have artists with their own art studios doing amazing work! So what makes all of this a "renaissance" for San Angelo? Well the renaissance was an awakening of creative expression in all art forms. In the last few years San Angelo has added the Performing Arts Center, an incredible venue for the ballet, symphony, and civic theater, with performances all year round. But it's not just the venues and the artists bringing attention to our city its the public. I've seen more businesses and organizations become more willing to work with artists of all kinds, they're supportive of the arts. It's that attitude that has launched San Angelo into its own era of renaissance that we will see bare fruit for many years. It's a snowball affect that we have seen repeated in cities all around Texas. Fredericksburg, Marfa, Austin, Comfort, Salado, and many more have all gone through their own renaissance period and reaped the benefits economically.
So what do we need to do to keep the ball rolling? First artists need to understand that the opportunities to create with the public are there. Sure not all ideas will work but the ones that do will move the ball another few yards. That's is key to how this all works. A group of artists or one artist make a big push for change and suddenly things start to fall into place. After it begins to move we all have to do our part, whether that's organizing events or participating in them it is important to get out there and move. Second organizations and businesses need to continue supporting local artists with dollars. I know that seems forward to say that but it's true. The arts are not free, they take time, talent, and resources. San Angelo recently has been putting big dollars up to do just that, and we are now seeing the rewards it. Third is publicity, we can't be afraid to brag about what we have here. Anyone that has a social media account should go out and visit some or all the art venues, and attend events throughout the year and post them. Share the experience of art.
If we continue to do all these things there is no limit to the resources and benefits we will attract to our city. And in the end we can all benefit from that.