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You may be interested in knowing more about where the food you eat comes from. Lincoln provides several CSA (Community Support Agriculture) opportunities that allow you to meet the people you support by purchasing the food that they grow for you. Many of the aspects that make this arrangement so interesting and gratifying for all involved also apply to buying original, locally sourced art.

Likewise, some of the same concerns about getting started with fresh produce also apply to original art. Let’s break it down by the four C’s:

Convenience – We have been spoiled in many ways by the convenience of online ordering. Yet the popularity of our farmers’ markets tells me that people still find value in making a personal visit and connecting with a real person at the source. Lincoln boasts more than 10 public galleries that showcase an array of visual art at a variety of price points. Most of them participate in First Friday gallery openings each month and keep regular hours for shoppers. Many local artists do offer their work online, either at their own website or through marketplace sites such as Etsy.com, which you can search by artist, art medium or location. Easy!

Choice – “Locally produced” certainly doesn’t mean “homogenous.” On the contrary, you’ll find a delightful diversity in art that’s available in Lincoln. While some artforms conform to a readily identifiable style (such as “Southwestern” or “Appalachian”), Lincoln knows no such labels. There are as many different types of art as there are artists producing the work. (You might even wish to commission a piece for the ultimate in personalization.) You can also experience a bounty of theatrical, musical and vocal performances on stages across the city. Whether you are interested in supporting youth performance, senior stage shows, touring professionals or local volunteers, Lincoln venues have bustling schedules year-round.

Cost – Shopping on a budget doesn’t mean settling for something impersonal or mass-produced. Perhaps it means purchasing a print rather than the original artwork or a hand-thrown mug rather than a large vase. Perhaps you can tuck some event tickets inside a greeting card. Or schedule an excursion that includes treating someone (or yourself) to a tour of the public art in your own backyard. Think creatively and ask lots of questions. Plenty of resources are at your disposal for doing something unique and meaningful.

Conscientiousness – Your commitment to buying local and supporting the arts does make a difference. According to statistics reported in Lincoln Vital Signs 2017 (http://www.lincolnvitalsigns.org/), Lincoln has about 20 arts and cultural organizations per 100,000 population, but per capita support of those organizations lags compared to peer and aspirational cities. You can help to tip the scale. Decide now to delve into Lincoln’s art scene. You’ll be delighted at what you discover and encourage your creative neighbors in the process.

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