Labor Day’s come and gone and we’ve packed away all of our white duds as Waldameer closed its gates until next summer. Looking back, we can say with pride backed by experience that summer in Erie this year stirred our souls. From chalk and sand art at Erie Summer Festival of the Arts to late nights downtown for Block Parties to concerts on Presque Isle to dancing barefoot at the Blues and Jazz Festival to heading outside of the city for the Crawford County Music Fest and The Gathering at Chaffee’s to spending Wednesdays at the Erie Art Museum for Mid-day Art Breaks and FILM to all the ethnic festivals to... well, you get the point.
The list goes on and on, and in fact, some people even saw this as a problem -- an #ErieProblem to be specific, with a phrase something along the lines of “I just did something awesome five nights in a row and it’s only Tuesday.” The above list covers just a sampling of all the great things Erie denizens had the chance to experience.
So now that summer’s drawn to a close, we’ll all catch our breath and slow down a bit, right? Maybe we’ll even hibernate for the next nine months, because before we know it, the snow will be here and there won’t be anything to do. And after all, we’re all far too exhausted to do anything fun for the next three seasons since all of our fun comes jam-packed into one season. And we’ll complain. About the weather. About there being nothing to do. About just about anything about the next stretch of days being pretty damn awful.
Or, we can take a breath and cool our jets for a moment to refuel for another string of events that can, well, continue to stir our souls as we refuse to sit and collect dust.
Picasso once said that, “Art washes away from the soul the dust of everyday life,” and if that holds true -- even for a city with numerous quality galleries hosting plenty of excellent exhibitions -- Erie’s baptism is about to begin.
“It’s big. It’s statewide. And it’s the first time in the event’s history that Erie has been the host city,” writes Abby Badach in this issue’s cover story on the 2012 Pennsylvania Governor’s Awards for the Arts. If you couldn’t tell by now or are new to the Erie Reader, we love this city. Even enough to not only wear but launch a line of shirts proclaiming it. So it should come as no surprise that the cover conveys that love -- in this case, for Erie Art. But is just loving art -- and Erie -- enough? What good does hosting such an event do for our community?
“In smaller communities, what the GAA has done has raised the level of collaboration among artists and arts organizations,” says Barbara Chaffee, president and CEO at the Erie Regional Chamber and Growth Partnership. “It focuses on the arts being a critical component of our quality of life – and it never hurts to have state-wide attention brought to our region.” Cultural and economic implications are at stake, and there’s no reason why we shouldn’t turn out for this event in the same fashion we do for summer events.
Okay, you say, but that’s just one more event. After that, we’ll be done. For real. Nothing else to do but grab a case of Lavery’s and a family-sized pack of Smith’s hot dogs and hunker down until the thaw.
Yes, local brews and meats are great, but hibernating is overrated -- especially when there’s still plenty to do and more memories to make. The challenge is finding these events more than a day before they take place -- which is why we’re now proud to introduce the To-Do List, a new staple in the If We Were You section. This takes the success of the Pick of the Week and combines it with another backbone of our publication: The Live Music Preview. This section makes sense here because if you’re following our advice when it comes to planning your schedule, you likely see at least two or more of us at these events enjoying ourselves, because when it comes down to it, we’re not just talk.
So, Erie, as you stand at the edge of your self-perceived glory season, about to become dust-free, you have a choice: turn in all nice and clean to reemerge next summer donning white duds covered in three seasons worth of dust, or keep moving, shaking the dust from shoulders each week in a continued stirring of the soul from art to film to music to theater and beyond.
If you choose the latter, we’ll see you out as we continue to check off things on our To-do List. If you choose the former, maybe you don’t have an #ErieProblem; maybe you have a you problem.