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Art & Culture

Auld Lang Syne
Frank Stack
PS:  Gallery
Strength in Unity
Hallowe'en Fright
I See Nekkid People
The Muddy Mural
Livin' Large, Kinkade Style
Eliciting an Emotional Response
www.Art
Marie Hunter
Out, Damned Spot
Danielle Eldred
Local Museums Thriving
Art in Stephens Lake Park
JD King
Strike a Blow for Liberty
No Vail of Tears
Ammanford Sculpture Controversy
Bear Creek
Larry Young
The Lowest Common Denominator
A Different Kind of Success
Taking Risks
Out of Her Gourd
Hey, GalleryMan!
Harry Potter and the
    Superstring Revolution

Investment Grade
Giving Thanks
Auctions
One Free Minute
Odds & Ends
Monkeys with Car Keys
Sharon Kilfoyle's Wearable Art
Farewell Betty
Happy Birthday, Naoma
Back to School
Take the Pledge
Canopy Conundrum
Columbia's Stonehenge
It takes a Village
Hope Springs Eternal
Dorrell review
Growing Season
If the Shoe Fits
That's Not Art!
Elite Appeal
The Hunger Artist
Opportunity
What Sells
Gallery Ettiquette

Bookbinding & Conservation

lessons learned from this profession

Humor

ok, I'm not the guy from SNL,
but I still have a sense of humor

'Jim Downey' Stories

mostly true stories from my
adolescence

Personal Essays

more "it's all about me"

Politics

Iím at -7.13/-7.33 on The Political Compass.  Where
are you?

Society

observations on the human condition

Travel

take a trip with me

Published in "Legacy Online" July, 2003


Opportunity

Thomas Edison said:  "Most people miss opportunity because it's dressed in overalls and looks like work."

Anyone who has created anything can vouch for the truth of this statement.  It is amazingly difficult to make something where there was nothing.  Staring at a blank sheet of paper or computer screen, putting gesso on a canvas, handling a unformed lump of clay . . . these are moments filled with both great possibility and great dread.  The same is true of looking at an empty storefront and imagining an art gallery, or a run-down house where there might be a home for abused women.  Any time you try and impose your will on the chaos of the world, to make it a better place, you will be faced with challenges, set-backs, and possibly even defeat.  Nothing is guaranteed.

Then why do it?  Why expend your life energy, your money, perhaps even your health and well being, trying?  Because while there is always the chance for failure, because even though there will always be critics no matter what you attempt to do, to create is life-affirming and immensely rewarding.  A close friend who is a person of deep religious conviction says that it is what brings us closest to God.  I donít know about that, but I do know that when I look around at what we've accomplished in the last seven years at Legacy, I find it deeply satisfying.  It's never been easy, and often it has been a struggle to just keep going and keep the doors open.  Other galleries have come and gone, a sober reminder of just how difficult it is operate such a business, no matter how good your intentions or deep your desire.

It is only through hard work, through taking necessary risks, through confronting the uncertainties in your own soul, that you can make the world a better place.  To take advantage of an opportunity requires sacrifice, intelligence, perspective . . . but above all it requires hard work.  I salute all those creators who strive to improve the world in spite of the risks, the critics, and the challenges.  I may not always agree with their goals or their methods, but I respect that profound motivation, and the dedication they demonstrate.

To end with another favorite quote, this one from Jean Sibelius:  "Pay no attention to what the critics say; no one ever put up a statue in honor of a critic."


contact me:
jim@afineline.org
all work © James T. Downey, 1993-present
photos © Martha K. John, 1994-present
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