Welcome to the Cooper studio, Jefferson, Iowa. Did you notice my absence? We were vacationing. And it was great. Even the add on. Now that part has you curious, right? That "add on" bit? But first we need to highlight a word from the title of this post. Promotion.
Promotion - yes, you could erroneously assume that I am going to give you a sales pitch on some paintings today.
Promotion - yes, and you could also erroneously assume that my job status has been elevated. That I am now CEO of karencooperpaintings.com. Oh, wait, I already am. (Heheheh.)
But what I really want to do here is tie "promotion" in with that "add on" bit.
On our way back from way up north, the map lead us through Chippewa Falls, Wisconsin. Population: more than Jefferson, but not 15,000 either. We knew that Leinenkugel Brewing Company was in Chippewa Falls, and we thought, well, that 'd be something to do on our way through. We were getting tired of driving, you know. So we cruised around town, and accidentally found "Leinie Lodge", which turned out to be their "meet and greet the world" facility. We walked up to their information desk to ask about tours.
Terry was the guy who greeted us. Yes, they were getting ready to close for the day, in ten minutes, give or take a few. But Terry was still hustling. No lean on the counter and whine about the long day with this guy.
So, tours were done for the day, we had already pretty much assumed they would be. We were planning on staying in town for the night, we just wanted to check time schedule for tours the next day. Terry let us know that tour reservations were a really good idea, their time slots were already getting full. He added our name to an open spot. And could have left it at that, right?
But he continued. What else do you need to know about Chippewa Falls? We've got great places to stay, all kinds of restaurants, a stellar park. Terry filled us in on all the local places. And yes, he did mention the chain hotels and restaurants out on the interstate. But he definitely highlighted the locals. He pointed us toward an old-school style inn, just up the road from Leinie Lodge. called the Glen Loch Inn. Probably a 50's era place, but almost impossibly meticulously well cared for. Continental breakfast was simple but served on white table cloths. The inn keeper was just absolutely gracious and friendly. Does her own gardening, and it's as meticulous as everything else on the property. The patio was perfect for the continental breakfast.
But Terry the tour guy also noted our bicycles strapped to the back of the Jetta, and mentioned if we enjoyed riding, that Chippewa Falls has a great park, with trails. 300 plus acres in the middle of town, beautiful trails, a band stand, a waterfall, even a small zoo. We enjoyed.
And Terry also pointed us toward a great local restaurant on the lake at the edge of town, called (of course) The Edge. Perfect.
So where's this all going you ask? Promotion. Terry's job was to promote Leninkugel. And he did that very well, as a Leinenkugel host. But he also promoted his peers, his neighbors, his fellow Chippewa Falls-ians. Terry seemed to know that every bit of promotion he did for his neighbors, was going to come back around and be good for Leinenkugel.
Not all of us in the art world, especially the summer art fair world, understand that concept. I see artists being protective, even secretive, about information that would benefit their peers. It's not hard to find an artist based forum on the net, where artists are talking about who's copying who. And "that was mine, and they copied it!"
Here's the thought to ponder: everyone does better when the community is well. Helping your neighbor is just another way of helping yourself.
We're already planning an autumn trip back to Chippewa Falls...