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For the Love of Art: Outpost

By Elisha Neubauer

Throughout time, humans have found a way to express themselves through art. While it has changed and adapted over time, the presence of art has remained constant in civilization: it is the life and soul of every city. Although art is important to our society, actually being an artist can be arduous. This is why it is so important for every city to provide a support system promoting artists and their work. For art to continue and thrive, it needs to be sustained and encouraged.

With over 100 events a year featuring local and touring artists, Albuquerque's Outpost Productions looks to do just that. Executive Director Tom Guralnick says, "Supporting artists to do their work is very important. All artists are "local" somewhere. When they leave home they are touring artists; when they return home they are local artists. A thriving artist/performer must be both local and touring."

Operating since 1988, Outpost Productions has provided a comfortable location for those emerging as well as established artists to showcase their abilities. The reasoning behind the Outpost concept is simple: "We do it because we love it. And because we believe that performers and audiences deserve a place to meet and experience each other, up close, in a casual, but mutually respectful environment."

A member-supported organization, the nonprofit is funded by grants, donations, corporate sponsorships, advertising, and ticket sales. The company has grown in leaps and bounds since its inception, jumping from a small $10,000 annual budget to an impressive $750,000. The company includes a board of directors,a small but dedicated professional staff (full time Executive Director and Publicity & Sponsorship Coordinator plus part-time graphic artist, Volunteer & Membership Coordinator, and intern), plus a solid core of over 125 dedicated volunteers. With a mailing list of over 10,000 patrons, the center plays host to over 60,000 individuals over the course of a year.

So how can you help to support local and traveling artists? Guralnick says, "Go to art openings. Go to live performances. Buy what artists have to sell...i.e. performances, paintings and so on. Encourage friends and family to do the same. Support the organizations- non-profit as well as for-profit- who work to present the arts. Become members, make donations, tell establishments to hire musicians and hang artwork. Tell your friends and families to do the same. Tell the educational facilities that the arts are essential to a child's growth and well-being and need to be a part of their experience." He goes on to say, "The arts are the lifeblood of a city. They are also, especially in New Mexico, a very important part of the economy."

Whether you make a tax-deductible donation, become a member, volunteer, or simply just attend shows, there are many ways to become a participant in the arts community. The arts need patrons to help usher them into the next generation's hands. Visit Outpost Productions today to see how you can support the arts.

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About The Author

Elisha Neubauer is a freelance editor, ghostwriter, book reviewer, and author. She is...

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