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Our current Pole Vaulter, Robyn Waters, talks about trends and countertrends. Her example is the equal popularity of two polar-opposite automobiles. The gargantuan, gas-guzzling, intimidating Hummer at one end and the petite, friendly Mini Cooper at the other.

I’ve been reading a bunch lately about creativity and culture. Where to find it and where it’s moving. Who’s making art and who wants to consume it.

Trend: People are moving to cities in droves to soak up the culture. Audi Magazine (I did not realize there was one of those, either) publishes “4 Facts about city living and its appeal” in its 2/06 edition. 4 Facts include “fun factor, financial incentive, full nest and family home.” Fun factor encompases cultural offerings and vibrant and varied life on the street. Financial incentive showed that cities are hot property again, according to a British-American survey. Apparently, rising energy costs are higher than the costs of city living, which are typically higher than outlying areas. Many cities have responded with creative initiatives and programs to woo artists and keep the culture coming. New York City, which some would consider a cultural hub, has spent millions of dollars and put together a task force to support the arts. Mayor Bloomberg has made clear that he wants to keep NYC creative.

Countertrend: Artists exit stage left. People moving to cities are chasing the fun factor that’s being chased out. A recent article in New York Magazine about Bohemian Boot Camp describes the price of being an artist in New York as too much for some to bear. Many artists have left for Austin, Phoenix, Buffalo and towns in Ohio. So, those who create what many move to the city to see, are moving out. In the article, Mark Russell of the Public Theater lamented, “I’m afraid New York is becoming Paris, where there are plenty of people to see art but not enough people to make it. We’re going from a cafe culture to a tourist culture.” Interesting. Culture is sprouting up in smaller cities and towns.

Will artists stop moving to New York and other large, cultural meccas to be part of the scene and to try to climb to the top of the proverbial heap? Probably not. Will all the artists currently residing there head for the hills? Unlikely. Is it silly to think that it’s possible for artists to be spread out all over the globe? Not necessarily. Inspiration can be found in many locales, especially if one is creative – which an artist most likely would be. Also, great cities are a plane, train or car ride away. The art can be imported back into the cities. The internet is also filled with heaps of information and resources. A new an improved Oddpodz will be here soon to help, too. In the meantime, it is an interesting trend/countertrend to observe.