Wednesday, January 21, 2015

Join Me in a February-for-the-Arts No-Shopping Challenge!

In 1984, my parents took my sister and I, along with friends, to see the uber-popular band Culture Club perform at the Omni in Atlanta, Georgia. Pretty cool parents, right? It was the greatest adventure of my life up till then, and it marked a turning point for me. It was there, during this first visit to a major metropolitan city, that my love affair with cities and all of the amazing arts and cultural opportunities they offer would begin.

After the concert, walking on clouds down Peachtree Street, someone slipped this flier into my hand.

Though it may not look like much, this small flier hangs framed in my den and has continued to inspire me for almost three decades now. I can't specifically explain why; I can only say it's a memento to a place in my life when I, for the first time, knew clearly that I wanted a life involving arts, culture, and creative people to share it with.

Over the years, I've lived in small Southern towns and a major metropolitan city. I've embraced country living at certain points, and craved the excitement of the city at others. One thing, however, has remained an ever-steady constant - I desire, or rather, I need, to be surrounded by creative people doing creative things. The arts are where I feel at home. Writers, artists, dancers, musicians, dreamers, doers - these are my people. And this brings me to The Challenge!

A couple of years ago, I did not shop for clothes for six months. This was a personal challenge that wasn't so much motivated by a desire to save money (I'm a notoriously clever shopper) as it was to assess how much time I was spending (wasting?) shopping for clothes. This experience was very eye-opening to me for many personal reasons, and it's one I'm keen to repeat.

For the entire month of February, several friends and I are taking a pledge not to shop for anything but groceries. No clothes, shoes, housewares. No store is visited except grocery stores or farmers markets. Money (and time) that would be spent shopping for non-food items will instead be spent enjoying the arts - concerts, theatre, traveling to see exhibitions...because let's face it, unless you live in a major metropolitan area, (which, eh, I currently do not,) enjoying cultural activities can easily get put on the back-burner as we dedicate yet another precious Saturday afternoon to shopping for new curtains at Pier One or wandering the aisles of a thrift store hoping to find a treasure. 

So, for the entire month of February, no time idled away in malls or shopping centers! It will be spent instead supporting cultural activities! This means seeking them out in our own areas or traveling to another city to enjoy them! Lucky for me, I live within easy driving distance from Atlanta, Charlotte, Athens, Greenville, Asheville, Charleston - wonderful cities with thriving arts communities. In addition, there are opportunities right here in and around my current town to enjoy theatre, dance, music and art events. So I'm looking forward to this month-long commitment of taking one step back from ruts that are so easy to fall into, and refocusing on what has always had my heart and soul - supporting the arts, the creative dreamers and doers. My people. 

How about you? 

1 comment:

Sannamari said...

Great challenge! I will give it some thought. :)