Nashville transient finds open arms in Fort Collins; A retrospect of the artist’s relationship with community.

Guest blog by Jason Verstegen. Jason lives and works as a musician in Nashville, Tennessee. With extensive experience including; international touring, private and commercial studio sessions, as well as national television programming, Jason brings a uniquely introspective takeaway on his time during a April 2018 artist engagement at The Music District in Fort Collins, Colorado.

In an era where the definition of community seems to be quickly evolving, the role of the Arts as a cultural pillar tends to be bypassed in the name of industry. Although Art by itself is an abstract concept, it continues to be scrutinized both in an analytical sense, as well as on its societal merits. This process is contradictory in that the overall benefits of an art-rich environment, though seemingly obvious, are hard to quantify in a standard protocol. Subsequently, the Arts are often overlooked in community education and planning.

The artist, now an afterthought, is left to function with little to no adequate compensation. When considering the relationship between artist and community, one must ask, “What does the artist provide?” and furthermore, ” Who provides for the artist? “

Art is the great cultural barometer; the tool of manifestation; the front line in abstract thought. Art acts as a vehicle for traditions, values, and ideas to permeate culture. Equal parts conservative and progressive, love and hate, worldly and spiritual, the Arts encompass all things human.

Unflinchingly honest is the artist who is compelled to reflect society on to itself, for better or worse. Acting as a catalyst, the very nature of the artist evokes contemplation. To consider, to perceive, to visualize. To question, to rebel, to react. These are the concerns of an artist.

Matt Campbell, front center, and his band. Jason Verstegen (left).

The community that emboldens its artists ultimately understands the inherent value in advocated self-expression. Genuine curation is the vital support system. Humble patronage comes in all forms, and without it the Arts would literally starve. The largest donation and the smallest gesture both play a pivotal role in the greater picture. Art’s true impact on society is dependent on its lasting influence. Great artists, when provided a platform to excel, leave a legacy that resonates with future generations, thus perpetuating the expansion of human culture.

Art is the by-product of a cycle that occurs when there is a balance of prolific work by the artists and a cohesive appreciation from the community. One may think of it as a“cycle of provisions”, each member contributing to the overall experience. The picture that is painted merely acts a mirror, reflecting both the hard reality and the beautiful truth in human existence.