[A recommendation from Brian Capistrano, the APD/MD at The Zone 91.3 in Victoria, BC. It originally appeared at Making Place Matter.- AC]
Moving to the big city to make it big is part of our cultural folklore, especially in entertainment. The great cities inspire our imagination and allow us to measure ourselves against the best in any business. But what about those artists and industry professionals who live in smaller cities, far from the allure of New York, Los Angeles, Toronto, or London? Does this geographical decision decrease their chance of success? If so, is it potentially valid for some individuals to accept a lesser chance of hyper-success in order to support music and arts in a smaller community?
The arts present a difficult lens for these questions because society implicitly requires audience validation to bestow importance on art. Often great art naturally begets a big audience, but a big audience also confers validation back to the subjectivity of art. It’s a circular and self-reinforcing relationship.
I have a theory that the relationship between arts and geography, therefore, is better answered by thinking about a different type of professional geography – a doctor in a small town.