I can only say that the state of The Studio is strong and getting stronger. Our revenues are improving and art sales are at an all-time high, thanks to the patronage to the artists’ work.
I was asked what was the reason for the increase in art sales these past few years and I can only see one explanation — people are spending more money, but in local places. Why buy art from someone you don’t know at twice the price in another city, when you can buy a familiar artist right here at home? I believe the people get it and they realize good art can be made anywhere, big city or small city — it just depends where you are.
The Studio has presented more than 260 art exhibitions throughout its 30-year history. We’ve shown 99 percent local artists, that is, artists living in the Southeast Texas region or from Southeast Texas. That says a lot for The Studio, and especially the artists from this region, because of their dedication and perseverance against adversity, hot weather and mosquitoes.
The ultimate choice to do something, anything beyond our daily existence, can be considered a heroic act. Life is an impediment to making art. All things have priority over art. But if art takes priority expect to lose your friends and get an intervention with your family. Yes that last sentence was somewhat hyperbolic, but you get the idea. Art takes a back seat to everything, even in the areas that art does the most good — education. But this is the argument I made last month and it need not be repeated here.
Our CPA, Lauren Brooks, has updated all the paperwork required in accordance to the nonprofit branch of the IRS. She has brought The Studio up to speed as far as all questions about our status as a nonprofit. We are now adapting to revisions in the tax code in reference to 501(c)(3) public organizations. One change is the proof of public support that was required in our first three years of the nonprofit status. As a public organization, a certain percentage of donations received must come from the public at large and not simply from foundation grants and the like. The change in the rule is the public test is to be reviewed every five years. This will require our continued outreach to the community and the community’s involvement with us. It is challenging, yet change we can live with. If it eliminates all the frauds in the nonprofit sector, it will be well worth the trouble.