Dear Stuart Breidenstein,
We, members of the Bend Art Community at large, want you to know that we appreciate you. We want you to know that we have seen the many contributions you've made to our city and to so many of us individually. We know that without your ingenuity, civic mindedness and dedication to the advancement of the arts in Bend over the last decade, many of us would never have had opportunities to display and sell our work locally, or gather together and celebrate art and music at events like the $20 Art Sale, Last Saturday in The Old Ironworks or Craft-0!
We know that without your creativity, generosity and thrift, dozens of artists and makers would not have had studios to work in because places like The Workhouse, Bright Place Gallery, and 9th Street Village would not exist. Those of us whom you have taught or mentored in jewelry making, welding, adventuring and general creative thinking want you to know how truly grateful we are for your patience, curiosity, insight and generosity of spirit. Those of us for whom you have made wedding rings, custom pieces and awards want you to know how highly treasured those items are to us—not only for our own private reasons, but because they were handmade specifically by you.
We know how vital your contributions are to the people of this city and we are saddened and shaken by the closure of Bright Place Gallery and your impending departure from Bend—though we understand why you've made that choice. It's painful and startling to see how quickly an artist who has given so much of themselves and their time to developing a community, sacrificing their own craft and resources, can be shut out by expense and the tactics of others. It shows us how vulnerable we all are in the face of an economy that prizes profit over people, in a city where land values are becoming untenable and local art and artists are, if not devalued, often commodified as marketing tools to benefit tourism instead of as leaders and vital members of the community. It's rare to find any person, let alone an artist, so willing to sacrifice their time, energy and inspiration to the greater good of us all and heartbreaking to see those sacrifices undervalued.
We know, too, that as an artist, you understand that failure is not defeat. It just looks that way. We know that your inherent creativity makes you resilient and that this is just a part of the redesign process. That being said, we want to acknowledge that you've taken a hard knock and we see the toll this has taken. It is important to us that you know you are not alone—you have us. We believe in you we want to help.
Your fellow artists and makers, tinkerers and thinkers, students and mentees, fans and friends.
If you've been positively influenced by art or by Stuart Breidenstein through his many ventures- Stuart's of Bend, Craft-0!, The Workhouse, Last Saturday, Bright Place Gallery, or the $20 Art Sale, you're invited to support him in his next big project with fellow Artist Abby Dubief. They're crowdfunding in the hopes of owning an art space where they can safely invest without fear of being priced out. Their goal is $6000, but we think we can do better: let's aim for $60,000!
Learn more about the crowdfunding effort, follow the link: