Art is a powerful thing. Whether it be music or physical art, it’s one of the few things that almost everyone enjoys without reservation.
It’s no secret that local artists are underrepresented in the industry. Local artists are vital to any community, however small it may be. They provide affordable entertainment at events, add value by attracting people to gathering spots and give the community a reason to get together.
Artists play an especially important role in small-town America. Whether they are visual arts, musicians or writers, they can help small towns thrive. These artists expose culture and bring new ideas to people who would perhaps never know it without their influence in the community.
While big city artists seem to have plenty of opportunities, it doesn’t exactly seem that way for artists in small towns. The limitations surrounding artists in smaller cities can often be discouraging, the desire to provide the community with their art is sometimes outweighed by lack of interest from their community or lack of payment for their art.
Art created by local artists ought to be celebrated and given the respect it deserves. Everywhere we look, we are surrounded by some form of art or another. Architecture or murals or paintings or concerts are all works of art we find ourselves admiring on a daily basis.
On the USD campus alone, it is not just students contributing to the world of art. Blue Ruin and The Beards are two bands comprised of professors that put together their own unique sound to provide the communities of Vermillion and the University of South Dakota with the art of their music.
This type of expression should not be swept under the rug.
While small town groups may not have the hype that many other music organizations have, the skill and dedication it takes to put a music act together —or a painting, sculpture or whatever form of artistic expression—should not be ignored.
We should support local art in any way we can. Things like attending an art gallery, or going to free shows where bands are showcasing their talents, are things that we can do to get the word out about these artists. Even simply sharing a post on Facebook, or a tweet on Twitter, can spread their work and provide exposure to people who otherwise may not see it.
It doesn’t have to cost a lot of money to support local artists. A little time and thoughtfulness is free. Keeping the arts in small towns and rural communities alive is important.