Challenge yourself this holiday season to buy at least one gift from a Kentucky artist. Why? There are certainly many reasons to support your creative neighbors. Here are just a few thoughts.
1. Strengthen the local economy
2. Encourage thriving, distinct communities
3. Invest in your community
4. Make better use of your tax dollars
When you buy local, more of your money stays in your community, whether you define community as your town, your region or your state. Purchasing a product from a corporation headquartered thousands of miles away means little of your money stays in the community. Should you even care?
Well, yes. Local taxes support local services, like your fire department, public library, police station and public schools. Small business owners and their employees (who are usually local people) benefit from increased revenue, increasing their purchasing power.
Small, local businesses also invest in their communities, sponsoring activities and events that promote community spirit, pride and involvement. These events — festivals, gallery hops, youth sports teams, concerts — create a wonderful and desirable atmosphere. Don’t think job-creating companies fail to notice great quality of life. As John Petterson, senior vice president of operations and manufacturing, told the Lexington Herald-Leader in 2010 on Tiffany & Co.’s decision to open a manufacturing facility in Lexington, Ky.:
“I want to be employing people in areas where I think they are going to have a great quality of life,” Petterson said, noting the city’s arts, history and sports activities. “That’s important to us at Tiffany.” [site]
Where to start?
Peek into an open studio, gallery or showroom
Visit one of the special artist events happening across Kentucky in November and December. You can find a list of activities and participating Kentucky Crafted and Architectural artists here. We’ve also put together a list of Kentucky Crafted retailers that sell a wide variety of Kentucky-made merchandise. Several retailers are hosting special events and promotions throughout the holiday season.
Put a name with a purchase
Take a tip from Arts Marketing Director Ed Lawrence in “Double Your Pleasure” and spend a pleasant weekend afternoon meandering the countryside, stopping at a few studios and putting a face and name with a purchase.
Look at the Creative Commonwealth archives
We love promoting Kentucky artists and their excellent work. You can find several great posts featuring gift recommendations on the Creative Commonwealth blog. Here are a few of my favorites:
Don’t forget the holiday gift guide
Kentucky Monthly magazine just released an online holiday gift guide featuring many Kentucky Crafted artists and retailers.
I’m sure you’ll find a one-of-a-kind present that’ll knock the socks off the person you’re buying for. Feel free to post your best finds on our Facebook page . We’d love to hear from you. Happy holidays, everyone.
Heidi Caudill, administrative associate