Just as we were readying to go to press with this issue, Richard Florida, whose 2002 book, “The Rise of the Creative Class” popularized the concept of “The Creative City” and subsequently, the creative economy and the importance it plays in the development and success of a city looking to reinvent and reinvigorate itself through the arts, announced the results of a new survey on citylab.com that found that a large portion of our country’s workers could be classified as members of the country’s creative class.
“The class composed of knowledge workers, techies, and cultural creatives is a key force in the economic growth of U.S. cities,” Florida wrote. “More than 55 million workers are members of America’s creative class, or above 35 percent of the workforce.” Based on 2017 figures, 46.8 percent of Boston-Cambridge-Newton Metro Area’s workers, 1,230,882 in total, fall under this creative class category; Washington. D.C., Seattle and San Francisco topped the list.
In the 10th anniversary updaing of his groundbreaking book, Florida defined the creative class as including people that work in the life, physical and social sciences and engineering, architecture and design, education, arts, music and entertainment fields whose economic function is to create new ideas, new technology and new creative content. The current study also included healthcare practitioners.
New England Metro areas that have seen the greatest growth over the last five years surveyed include Worcester, Massachusetts (23 percent), Portland/South Portland, Maine (18.1 percent) and Providence-Warwick, Rhode Island (15 percent). The Springfield, Massachusetts and Burlington-South Burlington, Vermont areas saw a slight loss in is creative workforce.
This study follows a period in which we’ve been reconsidering ways of telling the stories on how New England’s creatives’ work not only makes its way onto gallery walls and pedestals, but into our everyday lives, be it through our clothing or bodies, our modes of transportation, the apps that power our cellphones and computers and the things we integrate into our spare time.
I started compiling this issue’s story list after a long conversation with our publisher, Kaveh Mojtabai, following his return from a long weekend in New Hampshire with a large group of motorcycle enthusiasts at the Harley-Davidson Motorcycle Rider Safety Course on Lake Winnipesaukee. We discussed how he had shown our July/August 2019 issue to another attendee whose attention was drawn to a photograph of a motorcycle built from found objects by Michael Ulman that was part of the “Some Assembly Required” exhibition at the Art Complex Museum — and how he wouldn’t have considered being able to find such an artwork in a museum. Others in the group were taking glass blowing classes in the region’s glass studios workshops. It’s an example of the unversalities of the arts, a shared road to bring together people, as well as an example of new ways audiences can be drawn to traditional venues if they not only think outside the box, but when these venues develop ways to make new potential audiences aware of their efforts. As most bike and car owners know, each vehicle that travels down the road is a piece of art in its own right.
Similarly, we’ve slowly begun to re-appreciate what goes into the objects we wear and have around our houses. As part of my review of their work, several of the participating artists in the current “Fabrication of Imagination” exhibition at Arts League Lowell share how they gathered the materials that went into their work — and the origin of those fibers, along with the many hours that went into the end product — which in itself is the result of a thoroughly thought out pattern or design that took hours to make in its own right. I suspect you’ll enjoy reading how these artists count on their time spent working on their latest projects to help them cope and relax in these sometimes emotionally challenging times.
Digital photography is another area where impressions of the field are constantly changing. Photographer Mary Lang’s September exhibition, “Here, nowhere else,” at the Kingston Gallery in Boston’s SoWa District, looked like the perfect opportunity to explore a subject that I know comes across the minds of everyone that gallery hops or attends large group shows: what makes a photograph or artwork show worthy?
Lang’s landscape and travel photography is stunning — but what really drew my attention to her current collection of images were her shots of the seemingly unspectacular capturing of daily life, the views that do not change — our backyards, the local park or the area we take our regular walks. Sure, they’re important to us, but do they belong on the wall of a gallery where both artist and business needs the work to sell? Thankfully, Lang took no offense at the question (as far as I can tell) and answered in a way I hope will inspire you to enter galleries — and everyday life itself — with newly opened eyes.
Artscope will be returning to Art Basel Miami Beach this December 5-8; for this year’s event, we have the high honor of running our own individual, dedicated booth as an official exhibitor. Art Basel Miami Beach is the most prestigious world class fair in the world, and we’ll be set up in the magazine sector with the most visibility possible, presenting the best of the New England region’s artists, museums, galleries and cultural organizations to those in attendance.
Advertisers will have the opportunity to run a presence in New England’s premier culture magazine to be seen in front of these patrons, collectors, major museum and gallery stakeholders and the public to the global market. We always strive to pack our November/December issue with as many captivating stories as possible and hope you’ll consider advertising or listing your exhibitions taking place during those months in our special issue. For more information, call (617) 639-5771 before October 15.