Pigment, Pandas and Perspective | It IS a Wonderful Life

Posted in Blogs, Visual Art

Dec. 11, 2013

Yes, It’s that time of year when I like to haul out some of my favorite holiday movies (none of which seem to have pandas in them, but never mind…) and my all time favorite is “It’s a Wonderful Life,” directed by Frank Capra and starring Jimmy Stewart.

This movie jumped to the front of my mind the other day, when I started thinking about what life would be like here on Whidbey Island without Whidbey Life Magazine. Well, for one thing, there would be one less place for me to pontificate, and tell you what I think.

But it’s more than that.

If you remember the movie, you will recall that Stewart’s character, in a grand funk about how he thinks his life has turned out, gets the chance to see how things would have been if he had never been born. (For those of you who haven’t seen the movie, long story short: IT WAS NOT A GOOD IDEA.)

Now, I’m not saying that island life without WLM would be a complete disaster, but I am saying, as an artist in this community of so many artists, musicians, chefs, dancers, actors and writers, WLM has done more to raise the profile of all of us creative types than any one organization has done since I moved here 24 years ago.

I was astounded earlier this year by an infographic put out by WhidbeyCamanoIslands.com about the amount of money that is generated by art sales annually, both in individual studios and art galleries. Go ahead and guess how much.

Did you guess $13,000,000? If you did, you are right.

So, in a nutshell, what artists (and I’m using the term inclusively here, rather than give you the laundry list again) are doing for Island County by selling their work is to put money back into the local economy. We buy food, we buy gas, we buy stuff, we pay taxes and, mostly, we buy it right here. We ARE part of the local economy.

And what Whidbey Life Magazine is doing is letting people, both here and far beyond our shores, know about the wealth of cultural experiences that await anyone who lives here or visits. We have only existed in our current form for just over a year, and the magazine and the organization are still evolving, trying to find more and better ways to bring you stories and news of the creative goings on here.

To that end, there is currently an Indiegogo crowd-funding project that is live and in play even as I type. Our plan is to create a twice-yearly print edition of the magazine, to supplement the online magazine.  I won’t tell you all the details in this post, but you can read all about it here. We have just over a week to make our goal, and with crowd-funding, it’s not the size of each donation. It’s the size of the crowd. There are also some great rewards offered by the arts community, as well as an unlimited amounts of good karma that you will receive for donating to the project.

Do we really want to see what Whidbey Island is like without such a vibrant, sustainable arts community?

Nope, me neither.

Um...this is not one of the rewards.

Um…this is not one of the rewards. 


  1. I love this post. Thanks for sharing Anne. I ‘get’ the value of Whidbey Life Magazine and the value of having a beautiful printed magazine for our visitors, families, cabin owners, chambers, etc to be able to hang onto. I hope enough others do to… it would be a remarkable tool for this non-profit to give back to our community, even after they have already done so much to lift the profile of small little businesses like mine that have virtually no advertising budget (we can’t afford to put our own rack cards on the ferry, but we get access to those consumers through our WLM membership! How cool is that?!).
    Good luck with the campaign, and thank Mehitabel for taking another one for the team (and the Panda Kindie for being willing to force her too!).

    • Having recently traveled across the country to visit art museums and galleries, I was struck by how much easier our trip would have been if we had had a single resource we could look to in each city we visited. It made me realize even more, what an excellent resource WLM is for visitors and resident artists alike. And to have a printed magazine while traveling? Priceless!

      Some of the venues we knew of ahead of time and others we would have missed except by chance. WLM is an amazing resource!

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