This past weekend I was a living statue outside of the Living Sage boutique in downtown Grand Forks. I love that the owners, Lisa Johnson and Dalton Lilley (who also built our new website at http://www.conduittheatre.com) support local artists by hiring them on to do cool things outside their shop on a Saturday afternoon. I painted myself up as a silver statue, and stood/sat/posed in front of their shop with a tip jar. I would remain frozen until people passed, and at the right moment, I broke my pose to offer them a limited time coupon for the boutique. The results were often hilarious, as most people were not expecting it. It also helped increase traffic into the store, as once people saw the coupon, looked at the boutique, many said, "why not?" and walked in. In this way, the relationship between artist and business were symbiotic. I brought attention to their store, and I was given a chance to perform and earn tips from the endeavor, and add a little something cool to the community which didn't exist. Meanwhile, I had a lot of time to sit and ponder out there, and here are three observations I took from the day. 1.) Children did not get scared by a living statue. As much as adults responded with shrieks and jumping, children were more amused, and in wonder of the exchanges, which lead me to the second observation:
2.) I am grateful to add some magic to the world. It is far more exciting living in a world where statues can move, inanimate objects can become alive, and the impossible becomes possible.
3.) I am adding value to the city. A number of people commented how they've seen living statues in cities like New York City, Las Vegas, San Francisco, etc.
If you want to talk "vibrant", you need to talk about the arts. Hiring artists and performers to fill the streets will make Grand Forks a unique city (because our art will reflect our specific cultural identity). Just like any business, hire local.