Even Places Like Wheeling Can Be Turned Around (On A Dime)

03 May

Wheeling Youth

Wheeling Youth


The DIY work ethic has never been of more importance than it is now. As big business continues to whistle in the wind while storing up riches for itself and dumping on the little guy in every field, including the art industry, what better time to revisit a couple of books that helped motivate me to move to Wheeling in the first place, out of Washington DC, away from my supportive and loving wife, and into the wheeze of West Virginia decay.

In two books, artist & sculptor Eric Rudd, outlines his manifesto for artistic and financial freedom in the often corrupt and always competitive business of making and selling art, which, he adds, is also about the making and selling of oneself. Those two books,The Artist Studio/Loft Manual (For Ambitious Artists and Creators) and The Art World Dream (Alternative Strategies For Working Artists), contain fistloads of great information in constructing new strategies in open rebellion against the large city, in particular, the NY, LA, Chicago art scenes in favor of founding one's own gallery, owning the space rather tahn tossing money away on rent, plus other provocative ways to implement one's own creative scheme in fulfilling rather than enslaving one's art. It's a must read for those ambitious artists who don't see much hope in getting recognized by the fickle and manipulative art establishment.

It was to this end, that I scoped out Wheeling this spring for relatively inexpensive studio & gallery space. Its growth potential is definitely seething just beneath the surface tension of old industry decay and new life bursting at the seams to stay in their cherished Wheeling with its historic past, and phlethora of old abandoned buildings of downtown due for a new influx of capital interest, ripe for the pickings. With its central location to cities in the midwest and eastern seaboard, plus the rise of Internet, even places like Wheeling can be turned around from its decades old economic slide and rebuilt to modern specs on a dime.

Stay tuned. Today the STEEL & GRISTLE is just a glimmer in my eye, but perhaps, to lift a phrase from Jean Genet, I am indeed the soldier who is to come...

But no need for such headiness. Upon arrival I was soon put in contact with Chuck. With the much anticipated opening of Yesterday's Draughthouse & Stage here in downtown Wheeling in a few weeks, life was beginning to open up as night to a candle. After meeting Chuck, Yesterday's man-in-charge, he gave the wife & me the eyes wide shut guided tour through nook & cranny four floors thick (it's gonna be a monsterous rock venue) and offered me hanging space in the foyer behind the vintage glass-encased direct lighting tombs of glory so I'll be exposing eight to ten of my larger works to every pair of eyes that enters the bar. Less than a month in town. Now that's what I'm talking about...

Thanks Chuck! And props to you too, Justin, for the good word. Glad to be in Wheeling. Now it's time to make a difference!


© 2006 - 2013, Gabriel Thy. All rights reserved.

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"Ignorance and virtue suck on the same straw. Souls grow on bones, but die beneath bankers' hours.""