In 2013, I decided to spend eight weeks in the Big Apple. Alone. Just myself. Only accompanied by excitement, anticipation and all of its friends: Anxiety, stress and their distant relative, culture shock.
After having survived the first two weeks in a filthy room in an even filthier area of Brooklyn, I decided I needed to live in the heart of the metropolis: Manhattan. Since money was an issue, I was forced to compromise in order to achieve my goal. The halfway house was a shared room in a dormitory in Lexington Avenue, just ten walking minutes away from the iconic Guggenheim Museum – I was clearly influenced by “aesthetic architecture, which can attract mobile middle-class workers and tourists (Bianchini 1993, cited in Pacioni 2015: 389), and the so-called “Bilbao Guggenheim effect” (Plaza 2000, cited in Pacioni 2015: 389), even though I was in New York and not Bilbao, it was a Guggenheim after all…!
To my amazing luck I shared a room with a young woman from South Korea named Yuna. It was “affection at first sight” and we spent every day together for the next six weeks, exploring the never-ending opportunities this global mega-city has to offer.
I have always been into art, but only after I started to actually paint myself I realised how much into art I was. When I resided in New York I felt an artistic cold turkey creeping up on me quite soon. I desperately needed to be creative again. A word and a blow: As soon as I said “Goodbye” to the cockroaches in Brooklyn, I said “Hello” to the magical world of Blick Art Materials in 1-5 Bond St, district NoHo.
Almost equally magical my purse divided by half and my room expanded by half – the law of energy conservation at its best. Every inch of our already petite room was occupied by brushes, paint, canvases and myself, covered in colours. And it felt brilliant.
The arts and culture industry also supports productivity in the commercial creative workforce as a whole. Engagement with the arts and culture helps to develop people’s critical thinking, to cultivate creative solutions to problems and to encourage effective personal communication and expression…
…for both adults and children, these skills improve intellectual ability and wellbeing, enabling greater success in day-to-day endeavours. When these individual-level benefits are taken in aggregate, they represent improvements to the effectiveness and flexibility of the nation’s workforce, with positive impacts on productivity. (Report for Arts Council England 2015: 8).
My love for art, combined with my special technique (which I will explore on a deeper level in a future post) was obviously a recipe for luck: Bush telegraph moved fast and after only one week of painting on my own, six of my fellow students and even one of my teachers from language school wanted to paint as well. To be continued…!
B i b l i o g r a p h y
BIANCHINI, Francesco. 1991. ‘Urban renaissance? The arts and urban regeneration’. In S. MacGregor and B. Pimlot (ed.) Tackling the Inner Cities. Oxford: Clarendon Press, 215-50.
PACIONE, Michael. 2015. ‘The role of events in urban regeneration’. In Stephen J. Page and Joanne Connell (ed.) The Routledge Handbook of Events. London: Routledge, 385-400.
PLAZA, Beatriz. 2000. ‘Evaluating the influence of a large cultural artefact in the attraction of tourism’ Urban Affairs Review (36), pp. 264-74.
RATCLIFFE, Susan. 2012. Little Oxford Dictionary of Quotations. Fifth Edition. Oxford: Oxford University Press.
F u l l l i s t o f f i g u r e s
Figure 1: RAGETH, Onna. 2013. New York Summer Evening. Private Collection: Onna Rageth.
Figure 2: RAGETH, Onna. 2013. Preferred Card from Blick Art Materials. Private Collection: Onna Rageth.
F u l l l i s t o f w e b s i t e s
Report for Arts Council England. July 2015. Contribution of the arts and culture industry to the national economy. Available at: http://www.artscouncil.org.uk/sites/default/files/download-file/Arts_culture_contribution_to_economy_report_July_2015.pdf [accessed on 31 March 2017].